The most Irish ! Answer

asked, is Liverpool in Lancashire, the most Irish city in the UK?

Like so many questions of history one has to be most careful as to how we

determine and clarify our key terms before one progresses? I have a feeling

that Jer (who I know personally and who lives in County Cork Ireland) might

have really meant to say…. ‘is Liverpool the most Irish city in England’. Because

naturally, if we were to answer what the most Irish city is in the UK, then I think

we’d all plumb for Belfast without too much hesitation.

Defining Irish in itself may not be without a few hurdles, but to make the task

easier, we’ll use good old fashioned numbers and cultural feedback to ascertain

a reasonable answer. Sticking to England and we can dig out a veritable line of

possible city candidates. Naturally, metropolitan London has several well-

known Irish districts such as Kilburn. Brent, another ‘green area’ (pardon the

pun) has 12,320 ‘Irish’ and London is the only urban English representative in

Gaelic Football with the notorious London Irish team. At the last census

Birmingham weighed in with a very large 22,021 citizens who regarded

themselves as ‘white Irish’ and the city claims to have the largest St Patrick’s

celebrations in the UK. Manchester has also held its fair share of Gaelic

peoples. Frederick Engels did much of his social investigation into ‘the condition

of the English working class’ in Irish dominated Hume and Ancoats and even

more recently famous Manchester bands like the Smiths and Oasis can claim

genuine Irish roots. However, it is no surprise that Liverpool is often seen as

THE Irish city. In 1851, when Irish immigration had become a normal flux, 20

percent of the population were considered from the Emerald Isle. In 2001, the

UK population could reveal that 630,000 Irish resided in England, then,

comparative to 12 percent of the total Irish Republic’s population.

Many English cities clearly have a large Irish connection and history. Maybe,

the better answer to Jer is to state that cities in England throughout history

have been homes to our brothers and sisters across the Irish sea. With 34

Catholic cathedrals spread throughout the UK it would appear that the age old

shamrock connection is going to be a part of the British Isles for many years to

come…. Just seems such a pity that officially and politically we ever drifted

apart.

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