Mayo: Our emigrants have made their mark worldwide

Mayo Ireland

Many Mayo people prospered after emigrating – and many went on to make major contributions to their new homes. Their descendants have also made major contributions to both their new homes and to their ancestral home place.

Some of the great figures who were Mayo emigrants or descendants of such emigrants include:

  • Gene Tunney – Heavyweight boxing champion of the world
  • Grace Kelly – Actress and later Princess of Monaco
  • Seán McBride – Politician and statesman
  • Joe Kennedy – Businessman and later Chairperson of Ireland West Airport Knock
  • Thomas J Flatley – One of the world’s richest men and noted philanthropist
  • Paul Durcan – Poet, whose Going Home to Mayo, Winter, 1949 is a classic of the emigrant experience and of the desire for home and family
  • Michael Davitt – Land League leader, writer and revolutionary
  • Liam and Noel Gallagher – Musicians and singers with Oasis

Supporting those who found it hard

Many Mayo people who left did not, unfortunately, prosper and fell on hard times. Their stories too, are very much part of our emigrant experience. Too often, these emigrants were neglected or forgotten.

Many initiatives have been taken to right this wrong – and whether it be through supporting Irish Centres or by visits from President Michael D Higgins or from the Minister with responsibility for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan TD, efforts are being made to support those abroad who have struggled.

Safe Home Ireland, an initiative born in Mulranny, is only one of many projects to support our emigrants.

Connections - get involved – build the community

The connections between our emigrants and their home continue to develop.

For example, the paternal grandparents of the new Ambassador of the United States to Ireland, Mr. Kevin O’Malley, emigrated to the United States from Westport a hundred years ago.

We want to connect more of our emigrants to one another and to home.  Find out more about how to do that below:

  • Mayo Associations and other related networks are to be found all over the world.
  • Check out your local Association and get involved. They would be very pleased to hear from you. Peoples of all ages and levels of connection with Mayo are involved – so be sure to connect with them
  • This site is a resource for you to stay connected with home – check out what’s happening here, follow the news from home, get involved here, tell us what’s happening in your part of the world here

Community Links

  • Ever since people left these shores, community connections have been made and retained. Particular areas have built up especially close links – such as Achill Island and Cleveland as well as various projects linking Manchester and North Mayo.
  • Lots of other Mayo towns have forged links with cities and towns all over the world.

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