Irish Famine Immigrants

Black and white photograph of immigrants on a dock. There is a woman in the foreground of the photo holding several bags. There are four other people behind her, and a boat in the background.
A photograph of Irish immigrants

The Great Famine in Ireland caused death and suffering for people throughout the country. Many people died, and many others emigrated from Ireland in order to escape the famine. When most people in the modern world think about Irish immigration during the Great Famine, they think of a very typical, simplistic narrative that focuses on a sense of exile from one’s home country, the hardships that immigrants faced on their journey, and their eventual success upon reaching the Americas. Aspects of this typical narrative of Irish immigration are often memorialized; for example, the National Famine memorial in Ireland invokes Irish experiences on coffin ships.

However, this typical narrative of Irish immigration to the Americas ignores some important aspects of Irish immigration, such as the fact that Irish immigrants were major participants in the draft riots. Even aspects of the Irish famine experience that are commemorated by memorials, such as the Kindred Spirits memorial commemorating Choctaw efforts to aid famine victims, are left out of the typical narrative of Irish immigration. The reality of the Irish immigrant experience was much more complicated that the typical narrative of Irish immigration lets on.

Links:

CLICK HERE to learn about the Great Famine.
CLICK HERE to learn about potato blight.
CLICK HERE to learn about immigration on coffin ships.
CLICK HERE to learn about the immigrants’ arrival in North America.
CLICK HERE to learn about living conditions of Irish immigrants.
CLICK HERE to learn about the draft riots.
CLICK HERE to learn about memorials to famine victims.

Bibliography

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