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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Liverpool

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Immigration and Emigration
Dock
Courtsey from Liverpool Record Office

© Courtsey of Liverpool Record Office
Irish cultural expression in Liverpool

Patterns of migration

Ferry
Seacat between Liverpool to Ireland
© Freefoto / Ian Britton
So how did this connection between Ireland and Liverpool become so established?

The port city of Liverpool, with a current population of 439,473, has long been a destination for Irish migrants. By far the greatest influx of Irish people to Liverpool came during the years of the Great Famine in the 1840s. However Irish migration into the city was not a novel occurrence. Indeed, from the early 1800s Liverpool acted as a staging post for Irish migrants on their way to North America.

Analysis of the pre-Famine 1841 census reveals that Irish-born people accounted for over 17 per cent of the population in Liverpool.By 1851 this figure had risen to over 22 per cent (83,813) of the city’s population although the number of Irish in the city declined to 15.6 per cent (76,761) by 1871. Whilst many Irish settled during this time in the city, a large percentage re-emigrated to the USA or moved to the industrial centres of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
Cranes by river
Growth of industry in Liverpool
© Freefoto / Ian Britton
Whilst the Famine years saw the greatest number of Irish people entering the city, there were also other periods where a notable number of Irish migrants came into Liverpool. For instance, Irish migration into the city was such that by the late 1930s it was cause of dissent amongst some sections of the local community and politicians. A further ‘wave’ of Irish settlement occurred at the end of the 1940s as Irish workers helped assist with the city’s post-war regeneration.

Words: Marion Leonard


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