This chapter sets up the context of departure from Ireland for the migranting Irish and illustrates how migration to Britain became the established route for those who had lost any hope in the ability of the independent Irish state to provide jobs and economic security. The massive exodus from Ireland had its roots in the dismal economic environment there that existed up to the early 1960s, and leaving was rationalized as a temporary expedient until things improved at home. Individuals were also responding to changing values and attitudes that emphasized individual wellbeing and personal aspirations. Migrating to Britain allowed for repeated visits home, and thousands regularly travelled back and forth across the Irish Sea, in a pattern more akin to seasonal migration than the finality of a permanent departure.
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