Ireland recreates the immigrant experience

Ship Jeanie Johnston, moored off Custom House ...Image via Wikipedia
In the archives of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, German filmmaker Martin Duffy has been studying the employee records of relative Jack Carruthers, who started his career as a cooper at Guinness in 1945. But sleuthing the family tree also revealed fascinating insights into the social history of Ireland in the 1940s, the lives of non-skilled laborers and the people and events that lead to the emergence of the trade union movement.

Across town at the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of an 1847 famine ship that opened in June 2010, guide Paul McCarthy describes two cousins from Boston whose great-great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from County Kerry as a passenger. After discovering her name on the ship’s manifest while touring the Queenstown Story in Cobh, they traveled to Dublin to tour the Jeanie Johnston and understand the challenges such a journey must have posed.

At the Queenstown Story in Cobh, a family stands mesmerized by a photograph of Eugene Daly, caught playing “Erin’s Lament” on his uilleann (elbow pipes) for fellow steerage passengers just as the Titanic steams away on its ill-fated maiden voyage. The photographer was Jesuit priest Francis Browne, who disembarked at Cobh. In 2012, the center will mount the first exhibition of his images, the last ever taken of many of the doomed passengers. A staff genealogist will be available to help visitors complete their ancestral jigsaw.

Ireland recreates the immigrant experience |
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