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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Home Life - HolidaysHolidays Arrow to St. Patrick's DaySt. Patrick's Day Arrow to Irish DiasporaDiaspora

irish diasporaThe history of Ireland is marred with episodes of famine, fighting and oppression.

Through the hard times many young people left or were deported to other lands.

Families were split as some sons emigrated to the United States, Canada, and South America while others headed in the direction of Australia and New Zealand.

England, Scotland, and other European countries provided work for thousands of Irish fleeing the starvation of the potato famine and the hardships imposed by British laws.

Records show that about half of the immigrants who came to the US and Canada during the Diaspora were young, single women. These were boys and girls who were barely in their teens. Many families of Irish descent have stories of their grandparents being sent off. Mothers and fathers sending their children away to provide them with a chance to survive.

It is difficult to understand the loss these emigrants suffered. Today, family is at most just an email away, but in those days a letter could take months to be delivered. Leaving Ireland meant saying a very permanent good-bye to family, friends and home. The courage of the Irish people and their ability to overcome even the worst hardships was never shown more strongly than in the Diaspora.

The Irish gathered together in foreign lands to replace the support and comfort of the families that were left behind. Communities of the Irish of the Diaspora sprang up around the world and the culture, music and celebrations of the Irish were added to the lands where they lived. Hundreds of thousands of refugees left behind the greens of the Irish countryside during this time and contributed their spirit and talents to building other nations. Ireland's loss was the world's gain.

A huge debt is owed to the brave young lads and lasses who sailed into the unknown, adding a Gaelic flavor to every place they settled.

More about the Irish famine and Diaspora around the Web:


Irish Diaspora Net - the Irish Diaspora Studies Scholarly Network - A collection of 106 papers on the dispersion of the Irish.

The Irish (in countries other than Ireland) - This is a Catholic site that focuses on the number of Catholic Irish who were part of the Diaspora. They cover immigration to America, Australia, Canada, Great Britain - including Scotland, South Africa and South America. Well researched with solid facts and interesting information...

The Irish World Heritage Center - "The Centre is dedicated to Irish people world-wide and is committed to the recognition of their achievements and the positive contributions made by the Irish Diaspora."

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Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

More St. Patrick's Day Resources:


Catch a Leprechaun in Your Garden

The Irish Harp


Irish Americans By the Numbers

Boston Irish Heritage Trail


Irish Lace - Beauty and Simplicity

The Real St. Patrick

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