Emigrants Suitcase

By Caoimhe Griffin, 2nd year.

Object No. 95 Emigrant's suitcase, 1950s
National Museum of Ireland - Country Life

Young Tom Roache

He wasn’t the smartest you’d see

He was really quite simple if you asked me

Finished school at thirteen

His future laid out clear


But Tom had hopes and wishes

And dreamed of better times

He didn’t want to live his life on someone elses terms

One day when he was seventeen

He said enoughs enough,

Took down his grandfather’s suitcase

And in it packed his stuff


His Sunday suit,

His new black shoes

His father’s old grey cap

A farl of homemade soda bread

His accordion with the shoulder strap

He got the train from Castlebar

To Dublin town so grand

From there the boat to Hollyhead

To England – The Promise Land


Over and back for twenty odd years

His suitcase still in hand

Til finally a one way ticket

Saw him back in Ireland


Last week I saw the suitcase

It’s battered and it’s old

Inside its beaten leather

100 stories to be told

Of journeys taken

Dances danced

Memories good and bad

The suitcase holds the story

Of Tom Roache

My Grandad

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