Thursday, September 9, 2010

Going to London, as an Irishman

The brother’s in London. Like so many Irishmen before him, he’s gone over, but, thankfully he’s left post-Celtic Tiger – he’s left unpoor and educated. He won’t, like so many others, become an alien in a strange land – dishevelled, crooked-footed, forgotten.

Yet, in the past, these Irish who survived the voyage to the capital of the enemy were regarded as lucky by those in Ireland. They were the ones who could raise a family. A family, but without a community.

And for those who arrived as bachelors, brick-layers, labourers, and the unskilled, many were to become as shadows of weathered newspapers – wished by natives to meet their fate in rubbish that should have been rid of the city long ago. They still live today in England’s cities.

There once were Irish communities, refreshed by the boats every few months, which thrived in those cities. A home away from home. But, the boats stopped coming more than a decade ago. The communities are no more; replaced by the newer immigrants from the other ex-colonies.

The bachelors were made reliant on their community to provide the necessities. Yet it decayed and vanished, leaving the bachelors to age without guidance. They only women they knew were their mothers. Their mothers were gone from them before they were told to replace them, to find wives.With no path lit towards the main aim in life – family.

In their seventies and eighties, these once Irish men, had first been threatened with loss of identity, then loss of community, then, unaware, loss of social stability and natural progression. And they, like the communities, have decayed; like their homes; like their futures. And they die alone, not remembered by Ireland, England, distant family, city, community; forgotten completely.

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