Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, here is an excerpt from research I conducted when completing my PhD in Archaeology:
Recently, a trend towards focused attention has emerged in studying the Irish diaspora and emigration which occurred in the nineteenth century and ongoing today. This project is an ongoing investigation of nineteenth-century Irish ‘at home’ in Ireland and overseas and it is grounded within the tradition of Historical Archaeology, the field of archaeology that is concerned with the recent historic past and with the interrelationships of historical and archaeological records. It is a discipline that is strongly anthropological in nature. Case-studies from the diaspora include other prominent locusts for migrant rural Irish in the mid- to late 1800s, such as include the Five Points area of New York and the Irish colony of San Patricio, in Texas.
From 1820 to 1920, about five million people born in Ireland entered and settled in the United States of America. For the most part these individuals originated from rural backgrounds, mostly from the west coast of Ireland, and settled in relatively industrial cities such as New York, Boston and Chicago. There is however, an urban bias on the historical analysis of the Irish American experience. This project aims to dispel some of these notions. Many Irish settled in southern states. Although the Irish did indeed settle in cities in large number, they also settled in the rural West. The sheer vastness of the land and territory in America was a foremost driving force in the emigration and populating of the States in the nineteenth century.
Between 1825 and 1836, many Irish settled in California with these were principally master or officers. Although small in population, the Irish in Texas left their imprint in Texas history during the nineteenth century. Texas was settled, revolutionized and frontiers were explored. The Irish began to immigrate to Texas with the English defeat of Irish armies at the Battle of Kinsale, Ireland in 1602. The Irish reached Texas as permanent land settlers in the 1820s, decades before Texas became part of the United States, but they were not the first Irish residents on Lone Star Soil. They were preceded two centuries by “Irish soldiers, priests, administrators, explorers and pioneers under the flag of Spain”. Thus, Texas has had a long close relationship with Ireland.