How dare the Irish imagine escaping what by now could seem to be their pre-ordained destiny! By 2012, unemployment was back up to 15.1 percent, and 35,000 more people departed Ireland than came into it.
Ireland has the highest emigration rate of all European Union countries.
But Ireland refused the curse. Today, the country's economic recovery is slowly under way.
"The Irish people," U2 singer Bono told a gathering of EU leaders in Dublin last week,
There is no question of returning to the old resentments, much less the battles.
"bailed the Irish people out."
In February, the unemployment fell for the ninth straight month, although it remains at 11.9 percent, compared with 7.5 percent in the United Kingdom. The hangover from massive Irish bank failures remains a drag.
Most tellingly, the post-collapse austerity imposed by European Community officials in Brussels prevents the Irish government from instituting the very social programs needed to support the under-employed young, abetting the next round of their forced emigration. But Bono's remark was less a jibe at Brussels than a way of putting credit were credit is due.
Yes, the renewed loss of a next generation rekindles grief, but today's Ireland is mainly about the business of the future, not the past.
An Irish-American visitor, especially one from Boston, cannot help but be moved by the restored banishment of the young.
Equally moving, though, is the Irish resolve to do what's required to remake a place for them here. There is no question of returning to the old resentments, much less the old battles.
Life in the diaspora cut Irish America off from the ancient homeland, but it also severed a crucial link to a source of regeneration. For an image of positive possibility, the banished children of the Emerald Isle should reconnect to the impressive reality of today's Ireland.