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Poetry D Jour by Beryl McMullen coming December, 2010


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Author Topic: The Irish in Birmingham  (Read 9621 times)
Beryl McMullen
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« on: August 25, 2009, 04:53:33 PM »

People came in droves over from Ireland desperate to escape the potato famine and the growing  poverty in the mid 1800s. My grandma Helen O'Reilly just a little girl then was one of them –  Seven children she was one of them who was fostered out.   Feeling some prejudice – she called herself Helen Riley - sad really - can't trace her ancestry. My mom had an Irish sense of humour - the stories she could tell LOL

Another flood of Irish people came in the 1950s seeking unemployment. Many of these were labourers who helped build the roads and buildings in Birmingham. Then as economic decline hit Ireland in the 1980s, young Irish folk again came to Birmingham  a lot managing  to find employment in the catering business –Many Irish lived in the poorer parts of the city, Digbeth and Sparkbrook.  Being hard workers they were soon able to move out of the inner city, to the suburbs of Erdington and Hall Green.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 04:56:19 PM by Beryl McMullen » Logged
John 2000
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 05:11:00 PM »

Birmingham would never have been built, if it had'nt been for the Irish, they made the roads, they built the houses, the helped to run the hospitals, Yes. Birmingham owes a lot to the Irish, and what they gave us, and the biggest gift they gave us was Guninnes... Wink..J2
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Holly
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009, 09:24:39 PM »

Navigational Engineers.... Thats where navvy comes from.... the building of the Railways and the canals, most of them would have been farmers or labour hands in Ireland as plots of land was given to each son as he reached a certain age. The Irish are a very clever race of people and have a wonderful sense of humour. Sadly they had a very raw deal and cannot forget, When you read the history of Ireland, they had a truly dreadful time...Holly
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Modmossy
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2009, 11:00:49 PM »

Beryl Erdington has the largest amount of the Irish community living there in Birmingham


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Judy
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2009, 11:07:53 AM »

My 2 x gt.grandparents were Irish.  Michael Gilmartin married Jane Mackenzie at St Martins in 1846 when she was only 14 years old.  They changed their name to Martin, possibly to become more English.  They lived in No.12 Court, London Prentice Street and had 6 children before Michael died in 1859, leaving Jane, who was by this time 26 years old, to cope as best she could.   I don't suppose I shall ever find out where Michael came from but it is possible that he was from Sligo or Roscommon as that is where the names Gilmartin or Kilmartin are mostly found.  Jane came from Roscommon.

I have found Michael Gilmartin in the 1841 census when he was 15 years old.  He is lodging in John Street, and was a trunk maker.   Does anyone know where John Street might have been?

Judy
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Cromwell
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2009, 12:52:46 PM »

Judy, John Street was in between Barker St,George St and Wills St which was at the top of Lozells Rd
If ya cannot place it I will put a snap of it on the map
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Judy
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2009, 01:15:14 PM »

Thanks Cromwell - I have now found it on my old A-Z.  I am surprised that John Street was in that area.  For some reason I thought it must be near the town centre.

In fact I might have to query this with you.  I have just found an old book "Birmingham Street Names" and come across a John Street between Dale End and Lichfield Street (1792).  This would be nearer to the area where the family were 1847 - London Prentice Street - which, according to this map, runs from Bull Street to John Street.

I don't know why I haven't seen this before.  What do you think?

Judy
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Cromwell
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 01:34:02 PM »

You mean this one

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Holly
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009, 01:41:23 PM »

My G/Grandmother came from Rosscommon Judy, she could not speak English and i am told that she smoked a pipe. She was also a might to be reckoned with...Holly
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Judy
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009, 01:58:51 PM »

Yes Cromwell, that's the one.  I think I favour this John Street, if it was still around in 1850!

Your map is an earlier one than mine and I see that London Prentice Street isn't there but a Westley's (?) Row is.  I loved your map, so thanks for putting it on.  

Judy
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Judy
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2009, 02:01:56 PM »

Hi Holly

Interesting that your Gt.grandmother was from Roscommon also.  I visited there a couple of years ago, just to get the feel of the place, as I didn't know whereabouts in Roscommon my 2 x gt.grandmother lived, but just wanted to see it.  It is a really beautiful county, and I should love to go back again.

Judy
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Cromwell
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2009, 02:28:22 PM »

Judy Still there in 1883 London Prentice St was the Street on the left in the middle of John St

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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2009, 03:12:24 PM »

Thanks again Cromwell.  I am now definitely feeling that this is the John Street that my Michael Gilmartin lived in.  I know that London Prentice Street had a large Irish community living there, so perhaps the Irish quarter also included John Street.

Judy
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Telstar
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2009, 12:11:01 PM »

Part 1 ....

Because of technical problems. I have had to write this in 6 parts.

Beryl has most of the story right. But not the part about the 80's and Birmingham. I live in Co Dublin, beside the sea, 15 mins from the harbour port of Dunlaoghaire ( pronounced Dunleary ) which was formerly, Kingstown, in the days of British rule and, it was from here that a lot of the emigrants left from and still do.

The reason they have been able to do this is because there were no travel restrictions put in place between Britain and Ireland at the time of independence. This meant the people of these islands, could move freely and come and go as they please. No passport control was ever introduced.

This unfortunately has now stopped with certain airline carriers such as Ryanair, though not with others and not at the ports. I believe border passport control is going to be introduced sometime in the future. Shame, as it has worked very well up ontil now. There used to be custom officers at the borders but that all fell away with the EU ....

I have lived here since the seventies. I run my own business since 1980 and this has enabled me to travel all over the country and presently the counties of Roscommon and Galway is where I am working .... My Grandfather, Joe Doyle, took part in the war of Independence with A and C companies of The Dublin Brigade, all volunteers and later in the civil war. He was buried with a tricolour on his coffin and a military funeral with the Irish Army firing a volley over his grave in 1983.

During and after WW2, six out of eight of his children traveled to Britain for work, my own mother, Katie Doyle, in 1947.

Continued .....

  
« Last Edit: November 21, 2009, 01:28:46 AM by Telstar » Logged

The truth always prevails ....
oisin
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2009, 12:39:19 PM »

I lived and worked in Tubbercurry, a relatively large town in Co. Sligo, for about 8 years from 1972. I only returned to Brum when I had to give up work because of health problems. Although, on the surface, an idyllic place to live at the time, there were drawbacks. Things have improved greatly since but, at the time, I had to travel 70 miles to a hospital in Galway that dealt with my condition. And, because I didn't qualify for free healthcare due to my income being above the threshold, I had to pay for my medical treatment, which was far from cheap.
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