The Irish have had a massive influence on Scotland and have been coming to Scotland in great numbers since the mid-19th Century.
The Irish Potato Famine
The failure of the Potato crop led to the Irish Potato Famine between 1845 and 1852. The potato provided 60% of Ireland's food needs and without it many in Ireland struggled to survive.
About a million people died as a result of the Famine, and between 1845 and 1855 two million left Ireland for a new life abroad.
The majority of Irish immigrants moved to America and the 'New World', however a large number moved to Britain and in particular the industrial cities of Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. For more information on the Irish Potato Famine visit the BBC History website.
Glasgow was an attractive destination due to its’ status as 'Second City of the Empire' with jobs in shipbuilding and engineering. However, the Irish settled across Scotland’s Central Belt, with Irish communities being found in the Cowgate area of Edinburgh, Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire and Lochee in Dundee.
The majority of Irish immigrants to Scotland following the Famine were Roman Catholic, however around a quarter were Protestant.
Many of the sectarian Catholic - Protestant tensions and divisions of Ulster (the Northern Irish province which was hit hardest by the Famine) were then transferred to Scotland. Scotland then saw a rise of organisations such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Orange Order from these communities, both of which are still active today.
The 2001 Census revealed that there are currently 33,528 Northern Irish born people living in Scotland, with 21,774 having been born in the Republic of Ireland. This means around 1% of the Scotland’s population were born in the island of Ireland.
Over the past 300 years large numbers of Scots have moved to Ireland, and large numbers of Irish have moved to Scotland, mostly in search for a better life and employment opportunities.
Irish-Scots have flourished in Scotland and many have become well known names across the world. Famous Irish-Scots include actor Sean Connery, comedian Billy Connolly and Spartak Moscow footballer Aiden McGeady.
Every year Glasgow plays host to St. Patricks Day Festival as those with Irish heritage celebrate their ancestral links to Ireland with a celebration of Gaelic music, language, dance and sport.
Today, there are a number of Irish Rugby, Hurling, and Gaelic Football clubs across Scotland. For more information visit Scotland’s Gaelic Games website.