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Irish Americans


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Title: Irish Americans

Irish Americans
  • By
  • Larissa, Allie, Nikki, Katie

Irelands Geography
  • Ireland is located in Far Western Europe in the
    North Atlantic Ocean
  • Irelands greatest length- 485 km (302 miles)
  • Widest Point- 304 km (189 miles)
  • There is 5, 361 km (3, 500 miles) of coastline

Geography Continued
  • Across the South, West, Northwest and East are
    mountain ranges.
  • The South-Sandstone Mountains of Cork and Kerry.
  • The West and Northwest- Granite Mountains and sea
    cliffs which stretch along the coast.
  • The Northeast- plateaus
  • In the center of the country, there is rolling

Irelands Climate
  • Spring and Autumn Temperatures
  • Averages 50 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Summer Temperatures
  • Ranges from 60 -70 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Winter Temperatures
  • Ranges from 40-46 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Average Rainfall- 40 inches a year

  • Population- 3,294,140 people
  • Age Structure
  • 0-14 years 21.2 (male 427,017 female 404,191)
  • 15-64 years 67.4 (male 1,322,982 female
  • 65 years and over 11.4 (male 194,724 female
  • Language Spoken
  • Irish (Gaelic-along western seaboard)
  • English is mainly used
  • Religion
  • Roman Catholic- 90
  • Protestant group-10
  • Church of Ireland (Anglican)
  • Presbyterian and Methodist religions

Major Time Periods
  • The Prefamine Period- years before 1845
  • The Famine Period- years 1845-1855
  • The Postfamine Period- years 1855 to the present

The Prefamine Period
Reasons for Immigration
  • The religious persecution of the Catholics in
  • The restriction of Irish economic development
  • The presence of industrialization

How they got here, Who came to the U.S. and What
jobs did they do?
  • American ships carried raw materials to England
    and on the return trip, brought back emigrants
    from Ireland.
  • The immigrants were mostly Catholic males.
  • They were farmers, laborers, and military and
    religious protestors.
  • They worked to dig the Erie Canal in New York and
    worked on railways, streets, and sewers.
  • They worked as carpenters and as blacksmiths.

Where did they live?
  • The immigrants, during the prefamine period,
    settled mostly in the northeast.
  • Major ports of entry were Philadelphia, New York
    City, and Boston.

  • By 1840, the Irish made up nearly half of all
    entering immigrants.

The Famine Period
Reason for Immigration and How they got to the
  • The Potato Famine
  • The Irish crowded onto ships
  • called coffin ships.

Who came to the U.S. and What jobs did they do?
  • Mostly Irish families rather than single people
    came to the U.S. in the famine period.
  • Jobs were hard to find. However, clearing
    forests in Michigan and digging gold in
    California were popular jobs.

Where did they live?
  • During the famine period, the Irish settled in
    Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and New Orleans.
  • Some immigrants moved out west.

  • The famine period was the period in time in which
    the MOST Irish immigrated to the United States at
    one specific time.
  • About one and a half million Irish came to the
    United States in the famine period.

The Postfamine Period
Reasons for Immigration
  • Failing economic conditions
  • Increased political domination

Who came to the U.S., What jobs did they do, and
Where did they settle?
  • During the postfamine period, more single females
    came than males or families.
  • They became religious sisters, secretaries,
    nurses, and store clerks.
  • They settled all over the United States.

  • After 1860, more than 2.6 million Irish came to
    the United States.
  • From 1880 to 1910, the ratio of males to females
    immigrating to the U.S. was .98 to 1.
  • By 1910, Irish women made up about a quarter of
    teachers working in public schools in American

Culture in U.S.
Food and Drink
  • Agriculture is a vital part of the economy
  • Breakfast is a huge meal
  • Consists of eggs, rashers (bacon), bangers
    (sausage), baked fresh tomatoes, fresh mushrooms,
    white pudding, black pudding, fresh fruit, brown
    bread, or toast, or scones
  • Juice or coffee
  • Lunch- soups and sandwiches are popular
  • Dinner is the largest meal
  • Lamb is used in many recipes
  • Irish Stew
  • Roast Leg of Lamb
  • Beef is the traditional Sunday roast
  • Potatoes are important part of diet
  • For dessert-
  • homemade Soda Bread
  • Brown Bread
  • Home-brewed beverages, such as tea is popular
  • Beer, whiskey, and cider are important drinks to
    the Irish

St. Patricks Day
  • Celebrated on March 17th
  • Not an official holiday in U.S.
  • In Ireland religious holiday
  • It is the day that people honor the man who
    brought the Roman Catholic religion to Ireland
  • Green is of Irish tradition
  • many people wear clothing of green, color their
    hair green, and restaurants add green food
    coloring to beer on this holiday
  • Famous meal is corn-beef, cabbage, and potatoes
  • Parades and Celebrations are common
  • New York Citys parade is the biggest
  • Hundreds of thousands of people march for eight
    kilometers along Fifth Avenue.
  • Millions of others gather along the street to

Wedding Traditions
  • Claddagh rings
  • shaped as a heart, held by two hands with a crown
  • The heart reflects love, the hands reflect
    faith, and the crown reflects honor
  • right hand with heart facing fingernail single
  • left hand with the heart facing fingernail not
    married, but taken
  • left hand with crown facing fingernailmarriage
  • Wedding Dress
  • traditional blue dress, signifying luck.
  • Recently, Irish brides tend to wear off-white
  • Hair
  • Braided hair because this is considered a sacred
    way to keep feminine power and luck

Christmas Traditions
  • Candle in the Window on Christmas Eve
  • It is a symbol to welcome Mary and Joseph as they
    traveled looking for shelter
  • Candle is lit by the youngest member of the
  • Holly on Doors
  • Considered bad luck if taken down before January
    6th (Little Christmas)
  • Irish Ornaments
  • shamrocks, pigs, leprechauns and bright emerald
    green glass ornaments with Irish messages on them
  • Irish Christmas Meals
  • Spiced beef (traditional)
  • turkey, ham, stuffing, and many vegetables
  • Dessert- mince pies, Christmas pudding, and
    brandy or rum sauce

Irish in Politics
As soon as Irish came to America they jumped into
  • Was an opportunity that they did not have in
  • Was a job for a self made man
  • Gave them an advantage, control in a new land
  • -Need job and security

The Irish mostly became democrats
  • When first came the Federalists (Whigs) did not
    like them
  • -Saw them as wild and rude people
  • -Threat to their power
  • Passed Acts such as Naturalization, Alien and
    Sedition Acts
  • -First charged was Matthew Lyon

One of first Irishman in politics is a man named
Michael Walsh
  • Ran for congressman as democrat against the Whigs
  • -Cut to the point, rough, and sarcastic
  • Spartan band
  • -Gain votes and support
  • 1851 won a seat in congress
  • 1859 died

Political machines
  • Machines had a citywide leader called a boss
  • Next in power were the precinct captains
  • -Put in power by the boss
  • -Usually was a patronage job
  • -They were assigned zones (neighborhoods), they
    were responsible for getting the vote for their
  • Most Irishmen in politics worked at the local
    level of government
  • would form political machines
  • 2 advantages over other immigrants
  • -Already knew English language
  • -Familiar with American culture

Political Machines continued
  • Last there was the public who supports the
  • -Usually the machines supplied some kind of
    service to the people in return for their
  • -Before welfare was popular would help out
    the poor
  • -Provided immigrants with social services and
    jobs in return for their votes

Mayor Richard J. Daley
  • The last well-known political machine leader in
  • The first Chicago Mayor to be elected for four
    consecutive four-year terms
  • Known for the political machine to have aided in
    electing John F. Kennedy in 1960
  • known for being extremely tolerant of corruption
  • Daley relayed heavily on his precinct captain
  • suprisingly honest for a machine leader
  • -perosnal honesty was never successfully

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