New Irish Lives – Lana Haack

Sometimes leaving a home country for a new life and a new start in the best opportunity for a group of people, the Irish are no acceptation. Between 1700’s-1920’s there was, in the ball park, 7 million Irish native people that had immigrated to the United States.[1] This does not seem shocking due to the illness, famine, and political unrest that the country was facing during this time period; the people wanted to start a new life. As the immigration was flowing in, the Irish started to settle in the northeastern section of the US and consequently moved west for the opportunities that came about.[2] The green on the map that is shown gives a general idea of the Irish population in the west during 1870.[3] The Irish moving to the west was a boom to the economy and culture of the west in general but, more specifically Idaho.

The Irish saw the Atlantic West Coast of the US as the “land of gold” a “land of snakes” and “sweat.”[4] Though countless Irish Immigrants were involved in the mining and railroad, they also were a large part of the Idaho territorial military.[5] As the Idaho territory became more defined and prominent, the federal government could not ignore the Irish population. The older map that is seen below is a census report on the population of Irish immigrants’ ratio to the rest of the population.[6] The state of Idaho had varying levels of Irish, on a scale of 1-7.[7] The average of the state of Idaho is a 4.4% of the whole population in 1880.[8]