Irish Immigant Ship ~ Mid 1800’s
I posted this a year ago, and since I’m awfully busy this week, I’ve decided to be lazy and repost it. Our Irishness must be acknowledged and celebrated every St. Patrick’s day, or an auld mean beastie may come after us while we sleep. So, have a glass of chartreuse on me, and remember to keep it green!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d conduct a little research into the Irish diaspora. Here’s what I found out:
If all Irish emigrants and their descendants are counted as part of the diaspora, the total Irish (or part-Irish) population living throughout the world consists of over 80 million people. The Irish didn’t suddenly start abandoning their homeland during the potato famine–they had been moving to other countries for centuries before that. Much of the time, they were forced to leave by you-know-who and sent to places like Bermuda and Australia as prisoners or indentured servants.
There are Irish descendants everywhere. In addition to making the short move to England and Scotland, Irish people settled all over Europe. They also moved to the Carribbean, Canada, Argentina, Mexico and South Africa. 80% of the population of Newfoundland is of Irish descent. Even Cuba had its share of Irish settlers–Che Guevara was half Irish.
Of course, the United States had a huge influx of Irish immigrants, especially during the mid-1800’s. I’ve always been ashamed of this chapter in American history because we treated the Irish worse than dogs. Irish indentured servants were often physically abused and forced to work way past the time they were supposed to be set free. Those who settled in New York or Boston ended up living in filthy tenements and working dangerous jobs for next to nothing. Young men were often hoodwinked or forced into joining the Army right as they stepped off the boat. They were immediately placed on the front lines (during The Civil War) as cannon fodder. Some Irish immigrants settled in the mountains of Tennessee and West Virginia, where they became known as “hillbillies” and “rednecks.” Irish immigrants flowed across our entire nation, from sea to shining sea. They also helped build our nation: our railroads, our canals, our roads, our National Parks. The Irish were tough people; they were survivors and they, more than almost any other culture, left an indelible mark on American history.
So, it is with great pride that I celebrate my Irish (along with Welsh, Cornish, Scottish, French, Martian and Wookie) heritage today. Like President Obama, I’m very pleased to say I’ve got Irish blood running through my veins!
In keeping with the readin’ & writin’ purpose of this blog, here’s a poem I found at this site:
NO IRISH NEED APPLY. Written by JOHN F. POOLE, and sung,
with immense success, by the great Comic-Vocalist of the age,
I’m a dacint boy, just landed from the town of Ballyfad;
I want a situation: yis, I want it mighty bad.
I saw a place advartised. It’s the thing for me, says I;
But the dirty spalpeen ended with: No Irish need apply.
Whoo! says I; but that’s an insult — though to get the place I’ll try.
So, I wint to see the blaggar with: No Irish need apply.
I started off to find the house, I got it mighty soon;
There I found the ould chap saited: he was reading the TRIBUNE.
I tould him what I came for, whin he in a rage did fly:
No! says he, you are a Paddy, and no Irish need apply!
Thin I felt my dandher rising, and I’d like to black his eye–
To tell an Irish Gintleman: No Irish need apply!
I couldn’t stand it longer: so, a hoult of him I took,
And I gave him such a welting as he’d get at Donnybrook.
He hollered: Millia murther! and to get away did try,
And swore he’d never write again: No Irish need apply.
He made a big apology; I bid him thin good-bye,
Saying: Whin next you want a bating, add: No Irish need apply!
Sure, I’ve heard that in America it always is the plan
That an Irishman is just as good as any other man;
A home and hospitality they never will deny
The stranger here, or ever say: No Irish need apply.
But some black sheep are in the flock: a dirty lot, say I;
A dacint man will never write: No Irish need apply!
Sure, Paddy’s heart is in his hand, as all the world does know,
His praties and his whiskey he will share with friend or foe;
His door is always open to the stranger passing by;
He never thinks of saying: None but Irish may apply.
And, in Columbia’s history, his name is ranking high;
Thin, the Divil take the knaves that write: No Irish need apply!
Ould Ireland on the battle-field a lasting fame has made;
We all have heard of Meagher’s men, and Corcoran’s brigade.
Though fools may flout and bigots rave, and fanatics may cry,
Yet when they want good fighting-men, the Irish may apply,
And when for freedom and the right they raise the battle-cry,
Then the Rebel ranks begin to think: No Irish need apply.
(c)1862, H. DE MARSAN, Publisher,
54 Chatham Street, New York.