The tendency in the teaching of Irish history at second and third level is to acknowledge that a lot of Irish people left the country in the second half of the nineteenth century, and to then ignore what happened to them after they departed. To what extent did Irish people contribute to the history and development of North America? How supportive were Irish exiles of the cause of Irish nationalism, and indeed Irish unionism, in the 19th and 20th centuries? This course aims to fill a major gap in the teaching of Irish history by examining what became of Irish men and women after they stepped on board emigrant ships to North America. It will focus on the wider experience of exile, discrimination, coming to terms with new political realities, organisation, corruption, achievement and integration. It will also highlight the individual narratives of some extraordinary Irish male and female exiles. The course will focus equally on Irish migration to the eastern and western USA. The latter has also been widely ignored in Irish-American historiography.
1. Famine And Post-Famine Migration
The statistics of 19th century Irish migration to North America – the ‘coffin ships’ of the Atlantic – the horrors of Belle Isle – the ‘Five Points’ of New York – opposition to Irish immigration – the rise of the ‘Know Nothing’ party in the USA – the Irish and US machine politics.
2. The Fighting Irish
With the prevalence of a ‘No Irish Need Apply’ philosophy, how the Irish joined the American military in huge numbers – comprising up to 40% of the peacetime force – The San Patricios, the Irish-American deserters who fought for Mexico in the Mexican-American War – The Irish (Union and Confederate) in the American Civil War – Irish in the Frontier Army during the ‘Indian Wars’ of 1860 – 1890.
3. Irish Pioneers
Irish migrants on the California and Oregon trails- the first Irish Fur Trappers who helped open up the American West – the Murphys and the origins of San José – the tragedy of the Donner Party – the later career of Thomas Fitzpatrick.
4. Nationalist Agitators
How the Irish diaspora supported the causes of land agitation, Home Rule and Fenianism back in Ireland – the incautious activism of O’Donovan Rossa – the rise of John Devoy and Clan na Gael – internecine unrest and the Cronin murder in Chicago – infiltrating the Fenians, the story of the ace informer Henri Le Caron – Devoy and the IRB Military council plan for the 1916 Rising – De Valera and the swamp of Irish-American politics – the Friends of Irish Freedom, Ireland and the putative League of Nations.
5. Irish American Journalism
The travel and political writings of John Ross Browne – Charles Graham Halpine and Tammany Hall – Samuel McClure, Edwin Godkin and muckraking journalism – O’Donovan Rossa, Patrick Ford and the Irish-American ‘assassination press’.
6. How The Irish Won The West
The Irish who were on both sides of the law enforcement equation in the ‘Wild West’ – the Lincoln County War – the Johnson County War – The San Francisco Irish.
7. The Canadian Irish
Paul Kane, the father of Canadian Art – the assassination of Thomas d’Arcy McGee – the Fenian invasions of the 1860s – the Orange Order in Canada.
8. Real Gold And Liquid Gold
The Molly Maguires in the Pennsylvania anthracite mines – the Comstock lode – the women who ‘mined the miners’ in the American west – the Irish ‘Silver Kings’ of Nevada – the ‘Copper King’ Marcus Daly – the Irish of Bodie, CA – mining and miners’ agitation in Butte, Montana- the two Irishmen who brought water to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
9. The Irish And The Birth Of American Sport
How Irish players dominated 19th-century baseball – Irish field athletes and the early Olympics –the New York Gaelic Athletic Club – Irish-America and the ‘noble art’ of boxing – the rise of Gentleman Jim from San Francisco.
10. Representations Of The Irish In North America
The template of Punch crosses the Atlantic – Thomas Nast and the Simian Irish –The San Francisco Wasp and the Workingmen’s Party of California – the fictional Irishman with a purpose, Miles O’Reilly and Mr. Dooley.
Students must attend at least 80% of classes to graduate with either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance unless a serious and verifiable reason for further absence is provided.
If completing the course online, attendance and participation is tracked through Moodle.
A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma.
Dr Myles Dungan
Dr Myles Dungan has hosted current affairs, arts and sports programmes on both radio and television for more than two decades. A Fulbright scholar, educated at UCD and the University of California, Berkeley, he is the author of 11 books, including works on the Irish in America, the Great War, and the Irish Crown Jewels.
He is the author of two plays and the presenter of The History Show on RTE Radio 1. One of his best-known works, How The Irish Won The West, has been re-published in America.
Why City Colleges
- Courses for students who are passionate about their subject, delivered by leaders in their field.
- Live lectures which are also streamed live on Moodle and recorded for review
- City centre location in South Great George’s Street, convenient for bus, LUAS, DART
- Southside Dublin location in Dundrum
- Study rooms and library in our City Centre location
- Limited class size