The New and Old Ireland

On day 3 of Plus3 Ireland, I can feel all the puzzle pieces coming together as we visited Dublin’s financial district in the morning and a cutting edge, youth-oriented marketing agency called THINKHOUSE in the afternoon. While listening to the lecture of Dr. Kelly, our guest speaker, I couldn’t help but think of my own family’s history. 

Both of my parents are from Italy but immigrated to the US around 40 years ago in search of better job opportunities. Today, my mom is a professor at a public research university and my dad is a software engineer. Neither of my parents came from wealth with my mom being born into a working-class family and my dad into an artist’s family. 

Much of my extended family will claim that Italy, like Ireland, never went through an “Industrial Revolution.” Instead, both societies went from agrarian economies to the postmodern in a manner of 100 years. Italy differs from Ireland, however, in that it does not have Dublin’s newfound tech and financial industries bringing in new labor. Since my parent’s left in the 1980s,the country has primarily remained a country that people move out of instead of move into. 

As Dr. Kelly mentioned in his lecture as we were all sitting in the heart of Dublin’s financial district, there is a distinct difference between new and old Ireland that I felt I could relate to as a child of immigrants. To put in perspective, I’ll give the example of my mom. My mom became an orphan at age 14, left her home country in her early 20s, and barely spoke English. Now, both of her kids will soon have college diplomas — one in actuarial mathematics and the other in marketing. To think that not even 100 years ago,  my maternal aunt was working in a factory making parachutes during World War II. 

Being born in this position, sometimes it’s hard to not feel guilty for having all of these opportunities to travel the world, play expensive sports, etc. when your parents jumped through so many hoops to get to the point where they can give their kids financial freedom. That being said, I like to think that it gives me a unique perspective — one that is empathetic, principled, and driven to make the world a better a place. I think is part of the reason why I resonated so much with our company visit, THINKHOUSE, today. THINKHOUSE is a marketing agency with three main pillars: fame, transformation, and planet. Taking care of the environment and its workers is something so important to THINKHOUSE that they’ll even turn down offers from huge brands if their values do not match up. When thinking about old and new Ireland in comparison to my experience being the “new” generation of my family, I wonder how much the two perspectives can be compared. 

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