The Experience of Irish Migrants to Glasgow, Scotland, 1863-1891: A New Way of Being Irish

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This book analyses how the Irish-born, and their offspring, in one nineteenth century British city came to define and understand their Irishness through political action. It proposes that the organisation and representation of Irishness in Glasgow (and, by extension, Scotland) eventually led to a secular, even radical, ‘fusion’ of loyalties, from the time of Daniel O’Connell onwards which allowed Protestants such as John Ferguson an entry into nationalist debate. Ferguson, despite the competing claims of the Catholic Church and the drink trade, not only successfully created a Home Rule movement in the 1870s but also, in the long term, crucially fused loyalty to organised labour with his representation of Irish political identity. Based on extensive research, this work aims to give the non-Scottish reader a fuller idea of the origins of the Glasgow Irish, emphasising the great importance of Ulster connections, and to contribute to the ongoing debate on the nature of Irish political identity in urban Britain and USA.


"“This book makes a significant contribution to both migrant studies and political history. By its examination of the Irish experience in industrial Glasgow from the ‘bottom up’ it reveals many different threads that went into the formation of Irishness in what, after all, was, for some, a hostile environmental combination of ancient oppressor and rival religion.” – (from the Foreword) W. Hamish Fraser, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde

“The Irish in nineteenth-century Glasgow are one of the most important communities in the Irish diaspora ... This is an accomplished study of a vitally important but under-recognised field of enquiry. Dr. McBride has made a valuable, scholarly contribution to nineteenth-century social and political history, and I look forward to seeing it in print.” – Professor Donald Macraild, Victoria University

"Dr. McBride’s analysis of the politics of the Irish in Glasgow is a major and innovative addition to the literature. He unearths fresh evidence about the Irish, linking communal development to working-class life which together formed a new political synthesis in the west of Scotland . . . This well-conceived, careful analysis commands attention and will influence subsequent research on the Irish abroad."-Dr. Alan O’Day, Greyfriars Hall, Oxford

Table of Contents

Preface by W. Hamish Fraser
Acknowledgements Abbreviations
Note to the Reader
1 Irish Politics in Early Nineteenth Century Glasgow
2 Irish Popular Politics, the Clergy and ‘Fenian Fever’
3 John Ferguson and the Mobilisation of the Irish Vote
4 The Catholic Church and the Drink Trade: Their Competing Claims to the Irish Vote
5 The Glasgow Irish and the Politics of Land Reform
6 The Politics of ‘The Democracy’ and Irish Identity

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