Ours is a small country with a vast history, a vital chunk of which is displayed and explained in Dublin at the EPIC Emigration Museum.
Opened a mere three years ago, it has been voted — in the international travel industry’s mostprestigious awards programme — as Europe’s leading tourist attraction for 2019, beating Rome’s Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, and Buckingham Palace, all of which have been around somewhat longer.
The museum’s extra-special, award-winning element is its focus not only on the distressing causes of mass emigration but also on the stories of the 10m people who left this country to make new lives — and substantial contributions to society in science, industry, education, politics, and the arts — in lands far away across the oceans.
It honours, at long last, the Irish diaspora. It also shows what can be done — given imagination, talent, and skill — to maintain the vitality of a tourism industry that is now such a key part of our economy, bringing some €5bn a year in revenue and sustaining employment for some 200,000 people.