The Irish in America

"Out of these narrow lanes, dirty streets, damp cellars, and suffocating garrets, will come forth some of the noblest sons of our country, whom she will delight to own and honor." 
Orestes Brownson, 1850
 

This is a copy of the flag carried by the Irish troops in Meagher's Brigade during the American Civil War. The harp is sometimes called the Harp of Tara and is a major symbol for Irish-Americans.

The Irish have been coming to America since the country was first opened to settlement in the 1600's. In 1662 Irish settlers from Cork founded the town of Kinsale in Virginia. Many more came in the 17th and 18th centuries as indentured servants, an only slightly less repugnant form of slavery. Indeed, enough came that at the end of the 17th century the colonies of South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland passed laws banning further importation of "Irish papists". 

But it wasn't until the mid 19th century and the potato blight that the floodgates opened and the flight of the "Wild Geese" began.

I hope in these pages to chronicle, in some small way, the story of the Irish-American.
These pages are a work in  progress and more will be added with time. Please check back often.

Immigration and Discrimination
The beginning of the great mass migration to America during the Great Famine.

The Molly Maguires
The east Pennsylvania coal fields in 1862 saw the rise of one of the earliest labor unions in America. This is the story of the beginning of the great American Labor movement and the part that the Irish played.

Paddy on the Railway
The story of the Irish immigrants who built the first transcontinental railroad.
 

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