It's so sad to see both my brothers now living so far away in Australia......

Oct 11 2010

"It is so sad to see both of my brothers now living so far away in Australia. However,with little or no work here and the amount of tax we now have to pay, here is unthinkable. Everyone is just waiting to see what else the Goverment can throw at us. I will keep the saving fund on the go and hope in a few years we will all get down to see where they live."
(Jennifer MacNamee, Rathfarnham, Dublin)

The above is part of an email sent to me by my friend Jennifer, whose brother and family swapped houses with us last year while we were writing the book. Jennifer proof-read the original draft for Irishness and local detail and pointed out to us things that an outsider could not possibly know - for example, that St James Hospital does not cater for children, that the foothills near Tallaght are called the Dublin Hills and are not part of the Wicklow Mountains. We appreciated her input.
Her brother, Shane, stayed on in Australia and has since persuaded his youngest sibling, Andrew, to join him in the land of opportunity. Andrew had been one of the multitude made redundant when the Celtic Tiger ceased to roar. He was a designer creating quality furniture for the buildings that were going up all over the country when the money simply ran out. Everyone in his office was told on Friday not to show up for work on the following Monday. There was simply none there.
History repeats itself and such a thing is a regular cyle in Ireland. Her sons and daughters have been forced to leave home and country to survive for generations. My folk came to Australia during the potato famine. They would have starved otherwise.
In earlier days the Irish tended to have large families so in the wash-up the eldest son usually got the land, the second son and perhaps one daughter went into the Church and the rest had to fend for themselves. The daughters married if they could and often the sons left Ireland to get work wherever they can.
The book is set against the background of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland when the economy went into meltdown.