By Breda Gray

Girls and the Irish Diaspora appears on the altering nature of nationwide and cultural belonging either between girls who've left eire and those that stay. It identifies new methods of puzzling over Irish modernity through taking a look in particular at women's lives and their stories of migration and diaspora. in accordance with unique examine with Irish girls either in eire and in England, this e-book explores how questions of mobility and stasis are recast alongside gender, category, racial and generational traces. via analyses of representations of 'the robust Irish mother', migrant girls, 'the worldwide Irish family members' and big name tradition, Breda grey extra unravels a few of the complicated relationships among femininity and Irish modernity(ies).

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Such values are implicitly offered as antidotes to the perception that values of purity, sameness and a refusal of difference marked the conflict in Northern Ireland. This speech locates diversity and difference first within the space of the island of Ireland which is identified as incorporating those who identify as British as well as Irish and second in the diaspora which is positively marked by its multiplicity, impurity and difference. As well as symbolising diversity, mobility and connection, the Irish diaspora also figures fixity and continuity.

Yet, the relationship between the feminine and modern cannot be understood purely in terms of the positioning of women as belated, marginal or absent because women appear unevenly and in contradictory ways in the self-understanding of modernity (Felski 2000; Lowe and Lloyd 1997). For example, the figures and practices of ‘the Irish mother’ and ‘Irish woman migrant’ pervade twentieth-century Irish modernity and are exemplary of the contradictory interpellations and desires that have structured modern Irish subjectivities in the twentieth century.

It was interesting to see the interest focused on Ireland, some of it highly amateur and inaccurate. I heard leprechauns talking for the first time and I can inform the House that they spoke with Mexican accents. (Representation of Emigrants Debate, Seanad, 3 April 1996: 2114) Members of the diaspora were not seen as credible citizens in this contribution because of their distorted and sentimental relationship to Ireland. One letter to the Irish Times echoed Norris’ remarks noting that ‘[a] sentimental attachment to Ireland, expressed from a distance of many miles and years, should be no qualification for participating in Irish government’ (Ben Hemmens 1996: 17).

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