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The famine lasted from - , and it was worst in the year , which became known as Black ' The famine occurred due to the extremely impoverished Irish population's staple food the potato being infected with Blight , and the British administration appropriating all other crops and livestock to feed her armies abroad.

Starving people who tried to eat them would only vomit it back up soon afterwards. Soup kitchens were set up but made little difference.

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The British government produced little aid, only sending raw corn known as 'Peel's Brimstone' to Ireland. It was known by this name after the British Prime Minister at the time, Robert Peel , and the fact that many Irish weren't aware on how to cook corn. This led to little or no improvement. The British government set up workhouses which were disease ridden with cholera, TB and others but they also failed as little food was available and many died on arrival as they were overworked.

Some British political figures at the time saw the famine as a purge from God to exterminate the majority of the native Irish population. Irish people emigrated to escape the famine journeying predominantly to the east coast of the United States , especially Boston and New York , as well as Liverpool in England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Many records show the majority of Irish emigrants to Australia were in fact prisoners. A substantial proportion of these committed crimes in hopes of being extradited to Australia, favouring it to the persecution and hardships they endured in their homeland.


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Emigrants travelled on ' Coffin Ships' ,which got their name from the often high mortality rates on board. Many died of disease or starved. Conditions on board were abysmal - tickets were expensive so stowaways were common, little food stuff was given to passengers who were simply viewed as cargo in the eyes of the ship workers. Famous coffin ships include the Jeanie Johnston and the Dunbrody. There are many statues and memorials in Dublin, New York and other cities in memory of the famine.

The Fields of Athenry is a famous song about the Great famine and is often sung at national team sporting events in memory and homage to those affected by the famine. The Great famine is one of the biggest events in Irish history and is ingrained in the identity on the nation to this day.

It was a major in factor in Irish Nationalism and Ireland's fight for Independence during subsequent rebellions, as many Irish people felt a stronger need to regain independence from British rule. After the Irish War of Independence — the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed which led to the formation of the independent Irish Free State now the independent Republic of Ireland which consisted of 26 of Ireland's 32 traditional counties. The remaining six counties in the northeast remained in the United Kingdom as Northern Ireland.

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It is predominately religion, historical, and political differences that divide the two communities of nationalism and unionism. In the Republic of Ireland, as of , 3.


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The 31st International Eucharistic Congress was held in Dublin in , that year being the supposed 1,th anniversary of Saint Patrick's arrival. Ireland was then home to 3,, Catholics, about a third of whom attended the Congress. Today the majority of Irish people in the Republic of Ireland identify as Catholic, although church attendance have significantly dropped in recent decades. What defines an Irishman? His faith, his place of birth? What of the Irish-Americans? Are they Irish? Who is more Irish Lewis , an Ulster Protestant, who is walking towards it, even though he never ultimately crosses the threshold?

This has been a matter of concern over the last century for the followers of nationalist ideologists such as DP Moran. Thomas Davis , a prominent Protestant Irish nationalist and founder of the Irish nationalist Young Ireland movement, identified the Irish as a Celtic nation. This brought a further question for the future of Irish identity; whether Ireland was "closer to Boston than to Berlin :". History and geography have placed Ireland in a very special location between America and Europe Geographically we are closer to Berlin than Boston.

Spiritually we are probably a lot closer to Boston than Berlin. These countries all have large minorities of Irish descent, who in addition form the core of the Catholic Church in those countries. Many Irish people were also transported to the island of Montserrat , to work as indentured servants , exiled prisoners or slaves. Unlike African chattel slaves , the majority of Irish labourers who were sent to Montserrat did so by personal choice.

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The large Irish population attempted a rebellion on 17 March To this day, the Island celebrates St. Patrick's Day as a public holiday to commemorate the event. There are also large Irish communities in some mainland European countries, notably in Spain, France and Germany. Between and , over half a million Irish departed Ireland to serve in the wars on the Continent, in a constant emigration romantically styled the" Flight of the Wild Geese " and, before that, in the ' Flight of the Earls ', just before the Plantation of Ulster.

Venezuelans called them the Albion Legion.

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They were composed of over seven thousand volunteers, mainly Napoleonic War veterans from Great Britain and Ireland. Volunteers in the British Legion were motivated by a combination of both genuine political and mercenary motives.

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A million are thought to have emigrated to Liverpool as a result of the famine. People of Irish descent are the second largest self-reported ethnic group in the United States, after German Americans. Nine of the signatories of the American Declaration of Independence were of Irish origin. In the midth century, large numbers of Irish immigrants were conscripted into Irish regiments of the United States Army at the time of the Mexican—American War.

The vast majority of the 4, Irish-born soldiers served in the U. Army, but some deserted to the Mexican Army , primarily to escape mistreatment by Protestant officers and the strong anti-Catholic discrimination in America. During the 18th and 19th centuries, , free emigrants and 45, convicts left Ireland to settle in Australia. In the Census , 1,, residents identified themselves as having Irish ancestry either alone or in combination with another ancestry.

The Australian embassy in Dublin states that up to thirty percent of the population claim some degree of Irish ancestry. It is believed that as many as 30, Irish people emigrated to Argentina between the s and the s. This flow of emigrants dropped sharply when assisted passage to Australia was introduced at which point the Argentine government responded with their own scheme and wrote to Irish bishops, seeking their support. However, there was little or no planning for the arrival of a large number of immigrants, no housing, no food.

Thomas Croke Archbishop of Cashel, said: "I most solemnly conjure my poorer countrymen, as they value their happiness hereafter, never to set foot on the Argentine Republic however tempted to do so they may be by offers of a passage or an assurance of comfortable homes. Although some Irish retained their surnames intact, others were assimilated into the Spanish vernacular.

People of Irish descent are also one of the largest self-reported ethnic groups in Canada, after English , French and Scottish Canadians. As of , Irish Canadians number around 4,, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Irish as an ethnic group and nation. For pages titled "The Irishman", see The Irishman. Ethnic group, native to the island of Ireland, with shared history and culture. Irish Hiberno-English Ulster Scots. Mythology and folklore. Mythology folklore.

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Music and performing arts. Radio Television Cinema. World Heritage Sites. Main articles: Prehistoric Ireland and Early history of Ireland. For Irish people of black African descent, see Black people in Ireland. For the film, see Black Irish film. See also: Early history of Ireland. Main article: Irish name. Further information: Celtic onomastics. This section needs additional citations for verification.