1. Brief history

    The Irish community is one of Manchester's biggest and oldest communities.

  2. What's available

    Books and Articles

    • Mervyn Busteed has written many pamphlets and articles on the history of the Irish community in Manchester. Check the library catalogue.
    • Sylvia Clark, Little Ireland - the area between Oxford Street, Oxford Road Station and the River Medlock Industrial Archaeology Occasional Paper 1 Rq338.094273Cla(357)
    • Edmund and Ruth Frow, Essays on the Irish in Manchester - relates to the 19th century L942.733Fr R942.733Fr(297)
    • Sandra Hayton, 'The Archetypal Irish Cellar Dweller', Manchester Region History Review, vol.12, 1998, Lq942.73Man Rq942.73Ma73
    • Michael Herbert, The Wearing of the Green: a Political History of the Irish in Manchester - covers from the 17th century to present day L942.730044He R942.730044He(809)
    • Irish in Britain Representation Group Manchester - records from the 1980s and 1990s Rf323.119162 Ir(731)
    • Alan Keegan, Irish Manchester and More Irish Manchester - photographs, from the 1950s onwards L942.733Kee R942.733004Ke(630) R942.733004Ke(653)
    • Lawrence McBride, The Reynolds Letters, An Irish Emigrant Family in Late Victorian Manchester - looks at the experience of a family moving from Ireland to Manchester in 1850 R942.733Re(003)
    • Frank Neal, 'Manchester Origins of the English Orange Order' Manchester Region History Review, vol. 4, no. 2, 1990-91 Lf942.73Man Rq942.733Ma73
    • Paul Rose, The Manchester Martyrs: the Story of a Fenian Tragedy -the story of 3 Irishmen executed for the murder of a police sergeant in 1867 L343.1Ro R343.1Ro25
    • M. Sheehan and M. Herbert, Manchester's Irish Story - a series of articles from the Irish Post in 1989 Rf942.733 Sh4


    As well as the books by Alan Keegan there are images in the library's Local image collection.


    • Alan Kidd, Manchester p.37/122 - basic statistics about Irish migrants in Victorian Manchester L942.733Kid R942.733Man(285)
    • Census material for the 19th or 20th centuries - section on Lancashire includes information on place of birth for Manchester residents (ask staff to see a list) Rpf314.2C3 to pf314.2C19
    • Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society, Irish Ancestry Group Directory of Irish Born People and Resident in Manchester and Salford in the 1861 census Lq942.733009Ma Rq942.733009Ma(100)
    • Ethnic Minority Groups in Manchester - 1981 census, contains a section on Manchester's Irish Population with various statistics Rq305.8Et(469).
    • Ethnic Groups in Manchester - 1991 census, contains relevant information on country of birth Rq305Ma(499)
    • Economic Activity by Ethnic Group - 2001 census Rq305.800942Man(497)
    • Census statistics for 2001

    Archive collections

    The Manchester churchwardens accounts for 1809 to 1848 (ref GB127.M3/3/6A and M3/3/6B) list the amount of money disbursed on a weekly basis to the 'Irish resident poor' . The significance of these accounts is explained in an article by J. S. Taylor, 'Set Down In A Large Manufacturing Town' (Manchester Region History Review, vol. 3, no. 2, 1989 to 1890 pdf file).

    Irish poor in the city:

    • Letter from James Harvey of Liverpool to S. Lucas (NPSA) referring to "the savage, dirty, demoralised, idle Irish, who flood Manchester and Liverpool with dirt, faction, superstition, typhus fever and beggary", 1848 (ref GB127.M136/2/3/1409).
    • Many of Manchester's Irish poor were unfortunate enough to end up in prison and detailed information about them can be found in the prison registers we hold, 1847-1881. One register includes entries for the Manchester Martyrs and those accused of murdering Sergeant Brett in 1867 (ref GB127.M600/4/1 p.107 to 108).
    • A collection of records of the Manchester and Salford Sanitary Association, including:
      • GB127.M126/2/4/4 f.18 Report of visitor to the Little Ireland area of Manchester (Wakefield Street), 17 Feb 1854.
      • GB127.M126/2/4/8 f.23-29 Report of a visitor to Buxton Street, 18 Aug 1854.
      • GB127.M126/2/6/5 Report of a visitor to Gibraltar, Mill Street, Long Millgate (mainly Irish occupants), 11 and 13 March 1853.
      • GB127.M126/5/1/17 Lecture on the Sanitary Condition of Chorlton-upon-Medlock by John Hatton, 12 Jan 1854: (includes plan) with details of families in 20 cellars 17 Oct 1849 (mostly Irish names).

  3. How to access

    Materials marked with GB are available in the search room at Central Library, please make an appointment.

    For other resources mentioned, follow the link or use our library catalogue to find and reserve materials.

  4. Photographs

    See photos and more of our albums on Flickr.

    There are also images in the library's Local image collection.

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