Networks of Aspiration: The London Irish of the Eighteenth Century

An issue of: Eighteenth-Century Life

Networks of Aspiration
Journal Issue Pages: 240 Volume 39, Number 1 Published: January 2015 An issue of Eighteenth-Century Life
Following the work of Bailey, Barnard, Bergin, and others, this collection continues to redress a significant gap in Irish historiography by documenting some experiences of the middling Irish who made the journey to London during the long eighteenth century. These essays collectively demonstrate that Irish migrants, people of disparate backgrounds, formed networks that could variously sustain their identity, advance their professional aspirations, and allow them to orient themselves in the premier city of Europe. The hope is that this collection will move us toward a cohesive and robust account of what it might have meant to be Irish in eighteenth-century London when perceptions of the Irish were subject to the vicissitudes of popular prejudice and engrained stereotypes, to be sure, but when the Irish could, nonetheless, benefit from their networks and from the many achievements of their individual members. It is hoped that identifying and examining formal and informal Irish networks operating across the decades of the eighteenth century will lead to recognition that the Irish diaspora, in its various manifestations, is an integral part of the story of London itself, and not to be read as a sideshow provider of eclectic anecdotes somehow outside of the "real" history of the city.

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