in those various trends and
indices that register at the more immediate level of everyday experience.
The official contention that the 1990s saw the most successful programme of job creation in the history of the state seems more credible
when one constantly passes the windows of retail outlets carrying advertisements for new staff. The declaration that the former scourge of massemigration has been vanquished, moreover, appears persuasive when
friends and family are no longer compelled to leave the country and
when some of those who left in previous times begin to
Emigration and the spread of Irish religious influence
, tempered as they were by widespread knowledge of the more
mundane and often precarious fates of most Irish emigrants, were
the least of it, however. Religious commentators had begun offering a
more unambiguously glorious narrative some time earlier.
Broadly speaking, this narrative involved the interpretation of massemigration from Ireland as the fulfilment of a specific, divine ‘destiny’,
which had been specially accorded to the Irish ‘race’. God had chosen
the Irish to be, in a repeated phrase, a ‘martyr nation’12 whose millions
of exiled children were to form the