Slan Abhaile, in Carmen de Arecho

Dreaming of Longford?   (Click to enlarge)

Dreaming of Longford? (Click to enlarge)

I like the photo, taken perhaps 30 years ago, probably near Carmen de Arecho, one fifty kilometers or so from Buenos Aires. A lot of Irish settled around here in the 19th century, and elsewere in B.A. province, and some also further into the native lands of Argentina.

They came mostly from Longford-Westmeath and some from Wexford. Some stayed in the capital, some even working as professionals, but many went West, starting as shepards on large Spanish owned estancias, and often under a system which gave them half the proceeds of the sale of wool or animals at seasons end. An extremely lonely life for some years (- unless the famous Fr. Fahy managed to find him a wife-), later was rewarded with land ownership. As a result, Senor Duggan told me, by the 1930s you could not venture out of Buenos Aires over land in any direction without crossing Irish owned land for the first thirty miles.

The Irish grew- many still grow- the beef of Argentina, and the English built the railroads to ship it…but back home in Longford we won’t let it into our country. Welcome, diaspora?

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