Roundtable Event Saturday, December 5

November 27, 2009

Irish Immigrants & County Associations in

NYC, 1946-61

Saturday, December 5, at 2-3:30 p.m.

Mother Seton National Shrine (Our Lady of the Rosary Hall),

7 State Street (between Pearl & Whitehall Streets)

opposite Battery Park, Manhattan

Dr. Miriam Nyhan will discuss the unique presence and important roles of Irish county associations in New York City during the years following World War II. The discussion will be based on her extensive research using oral interviews and archival research, and on her analyses of these special associations, their yearly activities, and their enthusiastic participants.

The post World War II era saw a massive exodus of migrants from the island of Ireland. In fact, between 1946 and 1961 approximately 500,000 emigrated: the equivalent of approximately 17% of the population. In New York, county associations played an important role in the Irish communities that greeted the new migrants. These societies provided a means by which immigrants from particular counties could reunite, socialize, and provide contacts or assistance. For many newly arrived migrants, a county association meeting or event was the first port-of-call in the search for permanent housing, jobs, or a familiar accent. Each county, through these organizations, became a guardian to those it represented, and provided invaluable safety valves to the needs of its county-people. The annual calendar of the associations was structured around key events which punctuated the year, with St. Patrick’s Day representing the highlight. As a general rule, larger counties had larger and more vibrant associations – but demographics were not the only indicator of the association strength.

Dr. Miriam Nyhan will discuss the significance that county associations had for post-war immigrants from Ireland. Starting from a premise that we can only understand that wave of immigrants by looking at the Ireland people left and the New York they arrived in, she will clarify the many roles counties associations fulfilled. To widen the focus, experiences of Irish immigrants and county associations in post-war London will also be discussed.

Miriam Nyhan is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University. She received her M.Phil. from University College, Cork and her Ph.D. from the the European University Institute. Dr. Nyhan is the author of ‘Are You Still Below?’ The Ford Marina Plant, Cork 1917-1984. She has served as a historian for Henry Ford & Son Limited, (Ford Ireland) and is currently Glucksman Ireland House’s oral historian.

Reception to follow.

There is no fee to attend, but

A $3 donation for refreshments in suggested.

All are Welcome!


Colum McCann Winner of the National Book Award

November 19, 2009

Irish American websites are happily spreading the news today: 

New York resident – and Irish-born novelist Colum McCann has won the prestigious  2009 National Book Award  in Fiction for

                      LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN

 Click here to read the article in the New York Times

Don’t Miss This Story

November 14, 2009

The New York Times City Room Blog of November 12 reports on the research into the life of Mr. James Jackson of County Kildare whose  1799 gravestone was found recently during work on Washington Square Park.

 “The portrait of Mr. Jackson that has emerged is of a young Irish immigrant to New York City who achieved relative prosperity either as a watchman, a grocer or both. He built a family and became a citizen before succumbing to yellow fever”
Read the story  Clues Emerge to Life of Irishman Buried Under Park

Best Novels of the Year

November 4, 2009 has issued its list of the Best Books of 2009,  and topping the list in fiction are novels by Irish-born authors.

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel by NY resident  Colum McCann is Number 1!

Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin is Number 4!