Before airlines, and cheap travel, the main means of transport from one country to another was the boat, or liner (I wouldn’t call them cruise liners as we know them today, as these liners were far from luxurious)
The last port of call for most of these liners before they crossed to America, was Cobh in County Cork (formerly known as Queenstown), and from the 1900s, hundreds of thousands of Irish people went to seek their fortune in America, and most of them never returned home, or saw their parents or family again. This port saw an awful lot of sadness and tears. Can you imagine what it must have been like, saying goodbye to your children, knowing that you might not see them again. The children were off to a strange land, probably not knowing anyone, and as well as trying to make a living for themselves in a new country, they also did their best to send a little money home to their old parents left behind. Once the parents died, there was no one to take care of their house or few acres of land, and perhaps that is one of the reasons you come across so many ruins and abandoned houses around Ireland.
Even up to the 60s, there were very few telephones in private houses, each village probably had a telephone in the post office, and the main form of communication in those days was the letter, which would take about 6 weeks to get from America to Ireland, or – usually if there was bad news – the dreaded telegram.
I grew up on a farm with my grandparents, and I remember in the mid 50s one of my aunts was leaving to join her husband in New York. We had a party in the house, called a ‘hauling home’ and all the neighbours called and brought a simple little gift, maybe a prayer book, or a little card, something for her to remember them by. I suppose we were luckier than some families, as my aunt’s husband worked for an airline (TWA) so they did manage to come home every few years, but there were many others who never saw their children again.
On a lighter note, the boat below is one that gives a lot of happiness to children as they put their money in the slot and ride the waves!
Linked to Weekly Photo Challenge : On the Move and