This chapter aims to contribute to a better understanding of international emigration from and return to rural areas
using evidence from Ireland. The paper introduces key concepts relating to migration and return more generally.
The results of interviews with forty-six returned migrants, who were interviewed in 2011 and 2013, are then
discussed. All emigrants spent at least one year resident overseas and spent at least one year resident in Ireland
following return. The evidence reveals the continued influence of economic and social factors on emigration.
Emigration and access to employment were facilitated by family and friends overseas, among the lower skilled,
whilst the more highly qualified used agencies and advertisements. Most migrants lived within transnational
frameworks; they maintained regular contact with family at home and many visited home at least once annually.
These links functioned as sources of information about opportunities in Ireland. Most returned to employment;
however, reuniting with family was a key motivation for return coupled with memories of an idyllic countryside.
The experience following return did not always meet expectations and some returnees emigrated again.