Saturday October 24, 2020

Michael D Higgins blows away myths of the Irish in old Australia

By sharing the story of his emigrant family, President Higgins has made a courageous point: colonised at home, the Irish were often the colonisers abroad

22nd October, 2017
President Michael D Higgins used his Australian visit to explore a few uncomfortable truths about Irish history Picture: Getty

In 1862, Patrick and Mary-Ann Higgins, siblings from Co Clare, arrived off an emigrant ship at Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Patrick would eventually work his way up from ploughman to landholder; both he and Mary-Ann, a laundress, would marry in Australia, and ultimately die there. Some 150 years later, their grand-nephew would become president of the country they had left.

Michael D Higgins rolled out this story in Sydney last week, as he had the previous week...

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