Documentary on One

In Our Own Words

A Drama-Documentary looking at the experiences of young Irish immigrants in London seen through the eyes of the Irish company in London. Arriving with dreams of starting a new life in a new city but for many, the longing for home never goes away.(1988)

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In Our Own Words

During the 1980s, unemployment rates soared in Ireland and many young people were left with no choice but to leave their homes and look for work across the pond in London. Many arrived on the streets of London with only the clothes on their back, they had no jobs set up and nowhere to live. It wasn't an easy start to their new lives with some left with no choice but to sleep on the streets, spending their days wandering aimlessly in search of work with little support in a strange new city that was so different to home. Life on the streets was dangerous, you had to fight to keep what little possessions you had, it was each person for themselves. Finding bed and board in a hostel wasn't an easy task, as Irish immigrants were not welcomed with open arms, but it was a step in the right direction - you had a safe place to stay and an address to secure future employment. Building sites offered work for many Irish immigrants but the work was irregular and didn't offer a steady income. 

Life in London was not all bad and for some young Irish people, it opened doors to a new life of freedom away from the restrictions of Catholic Ireland. People in London didn't care who you are or what you wore and you could enjoy yourself without people watching you and making judgments. It offered an escape from their old lives. In London, you didn't know what life was like but it was a change to a predictable life in Ireland. 

Produced by Kevin O' Connor (First Broadcast in 1988)

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