The Irish in north-east Wales 1851 to 1881
This study derives from the interest of recent years in the Irish during the late Victorian period in the smaller towns of Britain. Much work has been done on the Irish in the larger conurbations of industrial England and Scotland, particularly in the 1830s and 1840s - work that has overshadowed the experience of the Irish elsewhere, skewing the historiography and locking the migrants into a huddled mass in a northern city. However, the 'Wild Milesians' of Thomas Carlyle, living cheek-by-jowl with Engels's pig in the slums of Liverpool and Manchester, have come to be seen as less than typical of the Irish, especially the second and third generations of the migrants living in provincial towns. Furthermore, the representation of the Irish as uniformly poor, wretched and Catholic has been revised. Again, the phenomenon of 'ethnic fade' was assumed to have occurred as the nineteenth century progressed, so that after the initial troubled years, the Irish merged with the 'host' population. However, differing rates and degrees of assimilation have been revealed; indeed, religious and political differences among the Irish themselves, frequently violent in their expression, were often defining characteristics of Irishness. Following in the footsteps of micro - studies of the Irish in the regions and smaller towns, this study aims to examine the experience of the Irish in the later nineteenth century in an area hitherto neglected in the historiography, namely, North-East Wales, with particular reference to the towns of Wrexham, Mold, Holywell and Flint.