16 June 2020

Ireland Out of England?

A long article by John Wilson Foster, 8,598 words, from the Dublin Review of Books.

"By 1830, Irish soldiers “were estimated to represent 42.2 per cent of the regular British Army . . . By 1878 a fifth of all British Army officers were Irish. More than 200,000 Irishmen fought in the First World War and were volunteers rather than conscripts . . . at least 60,000 Southern Irish citizens served [in the Second World War] . . . Joining the British Army was a family tradition for many, and was not seen by them as either pro-British or anti-Irish.” That became “an inconvenient truth”, says Ferriter with some understatement. In the twentieth century, he tells us, “1.6 million Irish left for Britain, more than twice as many as went to North America”. Roy Foster reminds us in Paddy and Mr Punch (1993) that the Irish-born population in Britain in 1861 was 805,000; the combined first-generation and their immigrant parents would have boosted the figure to several million. By 2001, the Irish-born population was 850,000; after all, by the late 1950s, nearly 60,000 Irish were arriving in Great Britain annually."
There's lots more for this with Irish interest at The Dublin Review of Books

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