Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Teachable Moment: The Irish Diaspora

The Irish Diaspora: It’s Not Easy Being Green


The Irish have been leaving the Old Sod for centuries for many reasons. First, as explorers and proclaimers of the Good News of the Gospel, some say all the way to the Caribbean. 

Hiberno-Scottish mission


Then, forced immigration. I would say that the mandated expulsions of the Irish from their homeland is a marvelous example of the law of unintended consequences, though not so marvelous from the British perspective. 

Flight of the Wild Geese

The leadership (the Wild Geese) were 'invited' to leave by the British, then fulfilled important roles in the empires and governments of Europe. Later, Cromwell especially liked to be rid of Irish Catholics, even sending Irish enslaved to the Caribbean.  The Scots, especially Highlanders, were exported to Northern Ireland then to the American Colonies after the Bonnie Prince Charlie fiasco, along with the northern Irish that were troublesome to the British (for frequently having uprising for independence.) About thirty years later, the American Revolution began. 

Sending Convicts To Virginia 

 Convicts in Australia 


 The Irish were loaded into 'convict' ships to Australia--Australia, now a mighty example of democracy. The potato famine was celebrated by British capitalists as a brilliant opportunity to be rid of the Irish, either by starvation, disease or evacuation to Canada or the
Grosse Isle Memorial, list of the lost.
USA on 'coffin' ships. There is a memorial in Canada at Grosse Isle, where my Sullivan ancestors arrived in 1842--one Sullivan survived, Elizabeth, my great great grandmother.

The vibrant contribution of Irish Canadians and Irish Americans is self evident, and not to underestimate the contributions of the same to the persistent, dogged, relentless cause of Irish independence. Unintended consequences (to the British.) But Irish independence is a whole other story.

Irish Canadian


Irish American


The City of Chicago - Christy Moore


 To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

Eighteen forty seven,
Was the year it all began,
Deadly Pains of hunger,
Drove a million from the land,
They journeyed not for glory,
Their motive wasn't greed,
Just a voyage of survival,
Accross the stormy sea.

To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

Some of them knew fortune,
And some them knew fame,
More of them knew hardship,
And died upon the plain,
They spread throughout the nation,
Rode the railroad cars,
Brought their songs and music,
To ease their lonely hearts.

To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal.

Here are a couple of interesting links about the Irish:

The Irish Diaspora Center

The Wild Geese

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