Place to Place: Translocality from Kilmaine to Wednesbury

Lough Corrib viewed from near Cong. © Copyright Joseph Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. One of the things that has linked a lot of my recent work has been the idea of translocality: that is, that when people move they don't necessarily think of themselves as nationals of a certain nation state moving to another … Continue reading Place to Place: Translocality from Kilmaine to Wednesbury

A bibliography of the Irish in Britain: first thoughts

As a historiographical exercise, I recently put together a bibliography of the Irish in 19th century Britain - you can find it here: There's also a map, below: I don't presume to make any sweeping statements about this, particularly because there's bound to be odd articles I've missed - it would be just my … Continue reading A bibliography of the Irish in Britain: first thoughts

Gaeilge sa Tír Dhubh: the Irish language in the Black Country

It's been a while since a post here, and I'd presumed that being furloughed from work would provide me with tons of spare time to write a blog. Reader, it does not work like that. However, I have been able to cobble something together about something that's on my mind at the moment - Gaeilge, … Continue reading Gaeilge sa Tír Dhubh: the Irish language in the Black Country

After Carribee Island: the Great War

This post follows on from these two about the afterlife of Carribee Island, for forty years the assumed - and stigmatised - home of Wolverhampton's Irish population in the nineteenth century. The Carribee Island area was part of a major clearance scheme in the late 1870s and 1880s which transformed the North-Eastern area of Wolverhampton … Continue reading After Carribee Island: the Great War

Telling family stories

As part of my research I will inevitably have to tell you some family histories. I say have to - it's a vital, fascinating and relevant part of my research. But have you ever had someone try to tell you their family history? I'm guilty of this, because my own family history is really interesting - to … Continue reading Telling family stories

St Patrick’s Day, 1873

Today is, of course, St Patrick's Day, and no doubt pubs across the country will be celebrating this typically alcohol-soaked celebration with a wide range of inflatable shamrocks, green top hats, and "kiss me I'm Irish" t-shirts. I tend to think of this bonanza of tat being a fairly modern affair, but a quick search through … Continue reading St Patrick’s Day, 1873

The desi dialectic

Recent blog posts have been a little sparse, and that's mostly a function of learning to be a freelancer - sometimes, apparently, work comes in thick and fast and leaves little time for much else. However, it has it's upsides: whether through teaching, writing, researching or anything else I've been getting a tremendous overview of … Continue reading The desi dialectic

Black Country Irish: lies, damned lies and statistics

We've had a quick look at some of the stories and statistics behind the Irish in the Black Country, particularly focusing on the census data for 1851. Data is an essential part of the story, but it is just a part. The historian can do loads with that, but it stops being interesting before too long: … Continue reading Black Country Irish: lies, damned lies and statistics

Black Country Irish: Willenhall

The rule of thumb with any sort of migration, especially when looking at the industrial era, is the larger the town, the greater the gravitation pull. Thus, London drew from all over the country, Birmingham pulls mostly from the Midlands counties, and Wolverhampton mostly from Staffordshire and Shropshire. It works with longer-distance migrants such as the Irish … Continue reading Black Country Irish: Willenhall

Black Country Irish: Oldbury

The 1881 census records just under 200 people living in the parish of Oldbury, then in Worcestershire, but having been born in Ireland. The census is of course a snapshot, and that's particularly true of the newly-transient working class of the nineteenth century, for whom moving for work was very important. Here's an example. Greet's … Continue reading Black Country Irish: Oldbury