Lunch atop a Skyscraper (1932)


New York City

9/11 Museum (2015)

S.S Austrian

Irish Hunger Memorial

Ireland Park, Toronto

Emigration in Ireland

Below is a timeline of events that happened around the country which either displaced individuals or caused them to eventually emigrate. Approximately 10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated since 1800.

16th & 17th Century


  • Early Plantations 1556-1576.
  • Munster Plantations 1583 onwards.
  • Ulster Plantations 1606 onwards.
  • Flight of the Earls 1607.
  • Later Plantations 1610-1641.
  • 1641 Rebellion.
  • Cromwell 1649-1653.
  • Flight of the Wild Geese 1691.
  • Penal Laws 1695-1829.


  • The Great Famine or Great Hunger 1845-1852 decimated Ireland’s population through starvation, disease and emigration. Those leaving for all over the world
  • —–
  • Penal Transportation to Australia from 1788 to 1868


  • Due to wars and economic upheaval and especially in the 1950s and 1980s many individuals left their homesteads to avail of better opportunities abroad.

    Celtic Tiger

    • During this period a more educated and highly skilled work force left to find employment. Many leaving of their own accord and not out of necessity as before

    From Connemara to Alaska

    Bridget and her niece Mary Keane

    Bridget’s baptismal and birth record February 1865

    News article about Bridget

    Bridget’s grave in Rosmuc, image from Facebook

    The Queen of Alaska

    Bridget Mannion was born in February 1865 in Rosmuc, Galway.

    In 1885 she emigrated to St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1892 she came to Napoleon Creek, Alaska. Receiving 150 marriage proposals while there.

    In 1894 she married Edward Aylward. In 1896, while visiting friends in Seattle she was dubbed Queen of Alaska by the newspapers, and in 1909 she was officially ‘crowned’ her title. Having made her fortune with gold mining.

    She moved back to Rosmuc in 1948, passing away in 1958.

    Bridget Mannion

    Irish celebrations

    Why did they go?

    As seen on the timeline above there were many reasons and factors that caused people to leave their homes.

    There are many known and unknown stories out there of the people and families that left with a varying ranges of success and tragedy.

    What did they do?

    The Irish abroad availed of every chance they could. Some worked hard all their lives and others took advantage of the opportunities that arose.

    • Some were soldiers and fought in distant lands.
    • Others built the cities, roads and railways of England and the United States.
    • Some were slaves and servants, gaining independence.
    • There were those who chanced their luck, mining for gold, silver or oil.

    Irish construction workers in Birmingham, courtesy Cowan family.

    Lunch atop a Skyscraper, 1932. 11 construction workers seated along a crossbeam of the ironwork of the RCA building, New York City.

    Communities Abroad

    The Irish have well known communities across the globe, in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However there are those who left for places off the beaten track.

    Times Square, New York (2015)

    Videos about the Diaspora