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Abhaile 2024 brought together the global Irish community to explore contemporary return migration. The virtual conference was dedicated to addressing the challenges and opportunities for those considering/planning a return to Ireland, as well as facilitating learning and connections between Irish organisations at home and abroad assisting returning Irish emigrants.

The virtual conference, the first of its kind, featured three insightful panel discussions, a virtual clinic during which our team offered individual consultations, and myriad digital resources to supporting people returning to Ireland. You can watch back the recorded portions of Abhaile below or on our Youtube channel. 

This conference was made possible through funding from the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme. A sincere thanks to our incredible lineup of panellists (get to know them here) for being so generous with their time and stories.

We are so grateful to everyone who joined us virtually for the conference – we wish you all the best on your journeys home, wherever that may be. As we hope to make this an annual event, we would love to hear your thoughts on our inaugural Abhaile via this brief survey or by using #Abhaile2024 on social media.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon, so be sure to keep an eye on our events page and/or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.

Keynote Address

Minister of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for International Development and Diaspora Seán Fleming, TD launched the conference via virtual address on Tuesday, 4 June. View his remarks below and learn more here.

Panel 1: Coming Home

Our first Abhaile panel featured reflections from returnees Richy O’Gorman, James Parnell (A New Dawn in Ireland), and Sarah Whelan (Socials by Sarah | Irish Women Abroad). Dr Sara Hannafin (Geography and Education, University of Limerick) moderated a discussion centred on the themes of identity and belonging upon return. Watch this inspiring conversation below.

Panel 2: Navigating Crisis

While it is always advised to plan a return to Ireland in advance, this is not always possible. For our second panel on Thursday, 6 June, experts in the field shared their experience supporting Irish citizens returning under difficult circumstances. Moderated by Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project Policy & Outreach Officer Niall Foster, this eye-opening discussion featured professional insights from our very own Project Leader Sarah Owen, Dr Patrick McDonagh (Department of Foreign Affairs Consulate Directorate), Karen McHugh (Safe Home Ireland), and Leslie Alcock (Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas). 

Panel 3: Back in Business

Our third and final panel of Abhaile 2024 aimed to support Irish citizens to hit the professional ground running upon returning to Ireland. Speakers Paula Fitzsimons (Back for Business), Ailbhe Mullen (Irish International Business Network), Erin Whittle (FRS Recruitment), and Jack Stenson (Digital Irish) offered advice on all things business, from how to tackle a networking event and job searches to building entrepreneurial communities.

Closing: Returning Home Poem

As no global Irish gathering would be complete without the arts, we were honoured to have Karl Byrne close the conference with a performance of his spoken word piece titled ‘Returning Home.’ Learn more about the piece and get to know Karl here.

Additional Abhaile Resources

Our dream for our first-ever returning to Ireland conference was to ignite the conversation on contemporary return migration to Ireland and offer support to those on this journey. You can find information on returning to Ireland here on our website.

Storytelling was at the heart of this conference. If you would like to hear more from other Irish citizens who have made the return leap, check out our returning to Ireland blogs – including Edel Monaghan’s piece on boomeranging which was written especially for Abhaile.

If you need individualised support, we are here to help. Please contact us here or email irishdiasporasupport@crosscare.ie.

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