Where did the Irish Settle in America?

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In recent times, you will find Irish Americans in almost every corner of the United States. Irish-Americans make up more than 10% of the US population, with 33 million US citizens of Irish heritage living in the US today. But where did the first and second wave of Irish immigrants settle? The answer to this question provides excellent insight as to how Irish immigration has contributed to American history and explains a lot about Irish-American culture today.

Irish Immigrants in the 1700s - Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas

The first Irish immigrants came to America in the 1700s. These men and women were generally Scots-Irish ( a term used mainly in North America to describe Irish immigrants with non-catholic roots). These were the colonial Irish who settled into the colonies in and around Virginia, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. However, many of the Scots-Irish were late to colonial life and arrived to find the colonies overcrowded, or land to expensive. Many Irish men and women lived on the Frontier, they were used to challenging living conditions and helped to

Irish Immigrants in the 1800s - New York, Boston and Chicago

It is well documented that New York was the primary entry point for immigrants to the United States in the 1800s. On 3rd August 1855, the Board of Commissioners of Immigration opened New York’s first immigration reception station. The station was based at Castle Garden, near the southern end of Manhattan. Castle Garden closed in 1890, but in the years between 1855-1890, more than 8 million immigrants passed through Castle Garden, a great volume of whom were Irish. A census taken in 1890 revealed that 190,000 Irish people were living in New York city at this time. However, the census also revealed that there were 260,000 Irish people living in Boston and 124,000 in Illinois, mainly in the Chicago area.

Irish-Americans today - where do they live?

A recent census shows that there are around 33 million people of Irish heritage living in the USA today. This shows the clear impact that early Irish immigration has had on the American population, culture and development. Interestingly, the census showed that 24% of people living in Boston identified as being of Irish descent. In one of the most  notable examples, an astounding 45% of people living in Breezy Point, Queens in New York identified as being of Irish descent.

The history of Irish immigration to the United States is rich and bittersweet, and is a lasting legacy of some of Ireland most difficult times for its people. However, even today Irish Americans and modern day Irish immigrants continue to benefit from a wide network of people of Irish ancestry. Many Irish people still emigrate to the US today, as well as many Americans who take the leap to live life on the Emerald Isle.


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  • Jill Tullous

    Looking into my ancestry my g g grandmother was Elizabeth Lewis b. Virginia mother of Melinda Frances Cook b 1840 Kentucky. Supposedly Irish decent

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