Thousands Are Sailing

by Henry Farrell on July 28, 2007

“Bill Sjostrom”: tells me via email that the “2006 Irish Census figures”: are out, and that 14.7% of respondents weren’t born in Ireland. This is one of the reasons that I don’t blog very much about Ireland any more; the country has changed dramatically since I left. I departed in 1993 at the tail-end of the economic slump, when no self-respecting immigrant would want to come near the country (over half of my university class emigrated as best I remember; I imagine that most of them have since gone back). According to Bill, 0.6% of Ireland’s population were born in the US; a pretty significant reversal of the previous trend. This picture from the “Irish Times”: suggests that changes are afoot in the North of Ireland too.

Northern Ireland

The caption reads:

The Free Derry Wall gets a coat of paint for the gay and lesbian Foyle Pride Festival. Members of the gay men’s health promotion agency the Rainbow Project painted the wall for the festival, which starts on August 13th.

Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries have used wall-slogans and murals (often quite detailed and extensive) as a means of marking off their territory and scaring off outsiders for decades. To have gay activists start doing ’em over in pink suggests that things are … a little different than they used to be.

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Crooked Timber » » Net Migration in Ireland
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tom s. 07.28.07 at 6:36 pm

Best Band Ever


soru 07.28.07 at 7:41 pm

Are they changing the mural to ‘free dearie?’


Valuethinker 07.29.07 at 4:07 pm


The anti-immigration stuff in the 6 Counties is still supposed to be brutal. Worst record against racial minorities of anywhere in the UK, from what I read.


astrongmaybe 07.29.07 at 4:29 pm

Fascinating stuff, and unimaginable in 1993, but I find it very difficult to understand some of these figures. I can’t figure out if the various gradations of self-definition allow for incredible precise expression of identity, or just for an utter mess of mutual miscomprehension.

On page 24, table 6 for example – what is the distinction between “nationality” and “ethnic group” and how was it explained? What does “Irish-American” or “Irish-European” mean as a nationality? And who are the single Pole and Chinese who regard themselves as, ethnically speaking, “Irish travellers”? The appendices don’t help much.


krhasan 07.30.07 at 6:51 am

I was looking through the papers of my late aunt some time ago and found a newspaper cutting from the 1950s with a photograph of her with none other than the President at that time. I can’t imagine an ordinary university teacher from Pakitan today getting that kind of treatment. The only thing special about her was that she was the Secretary of the Pakistan branch of the Federation of University Women.
Ireland must have changed now, with so many foreign-born residents. She certainly found everyone very friendly.


mollymooly 07.30.07 at 8:48 am

An African-American acquaintance got the N-word from a random stranger in Dublin, and glared “Excuse me?”, receiving a surprised apology; subtext “I thought you were a Nigerian welfare fraudster rather than a high-spending tourist”.


mollymooly 07.30.07 at 10:59 am

#6 astrongmaybe: See the census form reproduced on page 70. “Nationality” is question 6; “Ethnic and cultural background” is question 14. “Irish-European” is thus someone with dual Irish and other European citizenship. Of course, since people fill in the forms themselves, there’s ample scope for mistakes and blagging. Lying on the census form is a crime, but given that the information is treated as confidential it would be difficult to prosecute.

Note also the ongoing debate about whether Travellers are an ethnic group or a cultural group. The government tries to be agnostic about this. The census report is thus “Part I – Ethnic or Cultural Background” and “Part II – Irish Traveller Community”.


Sock Puppet of the Great Satan 07.30.07 at 3:51 pm

“This picture from the Irish Times suggests that changes are afoot in the North of Ireland too.”

No kidding. Norn Iron is now *prosperous*.

Real Estate in Belfast is almost as expensive as in San Francisco. That *seriously* messed with my head. However, my arse was even more traumatized, from extensive self-kicking because of my not taking my very shrewd cousin’s advice to buy property over there when it was 1/8 the price right after the Good Friday Agreement.

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