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Irish emigrants to America are ‘deluded’
Immigrants awaiting examination at Ellis Island in New York, the gateway to the United States for many Irish emigrants Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Irish emigrants to America are ‘deluded’

Published: 30 May 1914

A letter from Michael Jordan, the National Secretary of the United Irish League of America has appealed to Irish people to abandon the ‘recklessness’ that is causing so many to emigrate to America.

Mr. Jordan says that there is a false impression being created about the riches to be made. This false impression, he says, comes from the letters home which ‘tell wonderful stories of the prospects of America, but never tell the real facts of grinding life to which all workers must subject themselves in this country’.

Table showing the number of emigrants from Ireland for each month between 1890 and April 1914. (Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSO/RP 1914, 7543)

‘Many people in Ireland are deluded by the apparent possession of riches which some of the returned emigrants seem to show. It often happens that the men and women of our race spend the whole savings of their lifetime in one visit to the land of their birth. In the desire to make everything appear as pleasant as possible, they never tell of the heartbreaking struggle which they have been obliged to make to put this money together.’

The letter continues by saying that the labour market - both skilled and unskilled - is currently overcrowded  and that ‘the lot of the emigrant to the United States today is not improved, but is made much worse than it possibly could be by the worst circumstances in Ireland’.


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.