Irish Immigrants in New York City, 1945-1995

Irish Immigrants in New York City, 1945-1995

Linda Dowling Almeida
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/22/2001
Format: Hardback 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-33843-3
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Irish Immigrants in New York City,

Linda Dowling Almeida

The story of one of the most visible groups of immigrants in the major city of immigrants in the last half of the 20th century.

Almeida offers a dynamic portrait of Irish New York, one that keeps reinventing itself under new circumstances."
—Hasia Diner, New York University

[Almeida’s] close attention to changes in economics, culture, and politics on both sides of the Atlantic makes [this book] one of the more accomplished applications of the ‘new social history’ to a contemporary American ethnic group." —Roger Daniels, University of Cincinnati

It is estimated that one in three New York City residents is an immigrant. No other American city has a population composed of so many different nationalities. Of these "foreign born," a relatively small percentage come directly from Ireland, but the Irish presence in the city—and America—is ubiquitous. In the 1990 census, Irish ancestry was claimed by over half a million New Yorkers and by 44 million nationwide. The Irish presence in popular American culture has also been highly visible.

Yet for all the attention given to Irish Americans, surprisingly little has been said about post–World War II immigrants. Almeida’s research takes important steps toward understanding modern Irish immigration. Comparing 1950s Irish immigrants with the "New Irish" of the 1980s, Almeida provides insights into the evolution of the Irish American identity and addresses the role of the United States and Ireland in shaping it.

She finds, among other things, that social and economic progress in Ireland has heightened expectations for Irish immigrants. But at the same time they face greater challenges in gaining legal residence, a situation that has led the New Irish to reject many organizations that long supported previous generations of Irish immigrants in favor of new ones better-suited to their needs.

Linda Dowling Almeid

Author Bio

Linda Dowling Almeida is an Adjunct Professor of History at New York University. She received her BA and MA degrees from Boston College and her Ph.D. from NYU. She has published articles on the "New Irish" in America. She is a long-time member of the New York Irish History Roundtable and edited Volume 8 of the journal NEW YORK IRISH HISTORY.


“The Irish are everywhere in America, from Frank McCourt (with two books on the bestseller lists), to Riverdance, to PBS specials, to Pierce Brosnan (James Bond is really Irish-American—we knew it all the time) to U2, etc. And immigrants are everywhere. This book tells the story of one of the most visible groups of immigrants in the major city of immigrants in the last half of the twentieth century.

“Most histories of New York City's Irish immigrants focus on the plight of the men and women who fled the potato famine in the mid, 19th century. However, a recent US census recorded over half a million persons of Irish ancestry living in NYC; historians know very little about this generation of Irish immigrants. In an effort to address this overlooked aspect of the city's history, Almeida (New York Univ.) explores the Catholic Irish immigrants who made their way to the city in the 1950s and 1980s. She surveys the experiences and expectations of midcentury immigrants and examines why the New Irish were forced to adapt their expectations and institutions to meet the social and cultural demands of life in New York City. Based on 52 interviews with Irish immigrants and material drawn from the US census, this is a solid piece of scholarship. Almeida undermines notions that the city's Irish community is a homogeneous entity, while demonstrating that probing the forces that mold Irish identity is a rewarding exercise. This survey of Irish community and identity building will be of particular interest to urban historians and specialists in ethnic studies. Undergraduate collections and above.January 2002”
 — T. D. Beal, SUNY College at Oneonta

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Table of Contents

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The Background: When the Irish Ran New York
Chapter 2: The 1950s: "It Was a Great Time in America
Chapter 3: The 1970s: The Interim
Chapter 4: The 1980s: The New Irish
Chapter 5: The Catholic Church: What Parish Are You From?
Chapter 6: Who Are the Irish?