One of the consequences of the economic hardship and the Famine for Achill was that emigration became a regular part of life – a scourge that was to last for generations.
Traditionally Achill emigrants headed for London or Cleveland. It is estimated that up to a quarter of the population of the Ohio city can be traced back to the West of Ireland and to the island in particular.
Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell led a U.S. delegation that cemented the deep ties and common roots at an official ceremony in Castlebar, after which the American visitors traveled to the island to celebrate.
One of the visitors was Judge John Gallagher, whose father was born on Achillbeg Island, just off the main island and is now a judge of the Ohio court of appeals.
“In the early 1800s, when America was developing as an industrial nation the Irish came worked in many difficult and challenging jobs,” he said.