Many islanders, left their island home over the years to emigrate to the four corners of the world. However, Bere Island had an unusual pattern of emigration, in that a significant number emigrated to Argentina, mainly to work on the railroads.
Today Argentina is the home of the fifth largest Irish community in the world, with an estimated 700,000 people of Irish ancestry. The earliest record of the Irish in Argentina is of two brothers, Juan and Thomas Farrell who had travelled there in 1535 in an expedition to River Plate.
Many Bere Islanders who settled in Argentina would make their mark in their new country. A Bere Island man founded the Cattleman’s Bank of Argentina, while another became an engineer responsible for setting up the public water system in Buenos Aires. One island man, John D O’Sullivan was so determined to get there, that when he was shipwrecked off the coast of Chile, he walked over the Andes to reach Argentina. Years later, his grandson would be named Domingo Paulino Viale Sullivan Ramirez.
For some stories of our Argentina diaspora see below:
Maria Teresa Linares of Cordoba, Argentina recounts how she traced her family links to a Geronimo Sullivan on Bere Island.
Patricio Murphy, whose father emigrated from Bere Island later travelled the world reporting for the BBC.