The Ballinrobe Diaspora

Photo:Light in the window of Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin

Light in the window of Áras an Uachtaráin, Dublin

From the Áras collection

Introduction - Light in the Window

By Averil Staunton

We dedicate this category as Ballinrobe’s “Light in the Window” to all our families, friends and the Ballinrobe Diaspora that live and work all over the world.

Wherever you are we think of you, and wish you good health and happiness till we see you again.

This category was inspired by the “Light in the Window” at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Mayo woman Mary Robinson, the 7th President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and first female President, was the first to reach out to the Irish 'Diaspora' (the vast number of Irish emigrants and people of Irish descent).

From a speech “Cherishing the Irish Diaspora” in Feb 1995 she says…

At my inauguration I spoke of the seventy million people worldwide who can claim Irish descent. I also committed my Presidency to cherishing them - even though at the time I was thinking of doing so in a purely symbolic way.   Nevertheless the simple emblem of a light in the window, for me, and I hope for them, signifies the inextinguishable nature of our love and remembrance on this island those who leave it behind”. …..

Born in 1944 in Ballina, County Mayo, Robinson's parents were physicians. She studied in Paris and at Trinity College in Dublin. She then lived for a time in Boston and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1968. After returning to Ireland, she became Ireland's youngest Senator at the age of 25. She was also the first Catholic Senator in the Irish Senate. During the next 20 years as senator and an activist lawyer, she focused on many civil rights and women's issues. Robinson continues to maintain her popularity since her election in 1990. She campaigned to be a president of "all people."  In her inauguration speech, Robinson said she wants to redefine the symbol of being Irish. She wants to work to recognize the extended Irish family and be a working President.

This page was added by Averil Staunton on 13/04/2011.