About Ireland

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  • Population: 4.7 million
  • Languages: English (official), Irish/Gaelic (official)
  • Main religions: Roman Catholic (87%), Church of Ireland (3%)

About Irish-Americans

  • Local population: About 46,000 of Irish ancestry
  • Why they came here: The largest group of Irish immigrants to the Mohawk Valley came as laborers helping to build the Erie Canal between 1817 and 1825. A smaller group were among those who left their homeland to escape the Great Famine (also known as the Irish Potato Famine or the an Gorta Mor), which lasted from 1845 to 1852. During that time, about 1 million people died of hunger in Ireland.
  • When they came: 1800s

More resources:

  • "Paddy's Lament," by Thomas Gallagher
  • "Angela's Ashes," by Frank McCourt.

Bagpipers march down the street in the 2012 Utica St. Patrick's Day Parade. Credit: Kathleen Duncan / Observer-Dispatch
From right, facing: Butler Sheehan Academy of Traditional Irish Dance members Riley Muldoon, 8, Mara Stone, 10, Britta Berry, 15, and Katherine Noonan, 6, prepare to perform at the 2011 The Great American Irish Festival. Credit: Jason Rossi/Observer-Dispatch

Irish immigrant Jim O'Looney shares his story of moving to the Mohawk Valley

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, 2006-2010 American Community Survey, Oneida County Historical Society, O-D archives