Mervyn Busteed
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By the end of the eighteenth century better economic opportunities in Britain were attracting increasing numbers of Irish, who settled as permanent residents in Manchester. They were drawn into the civic life of one of the most prosperous cities of the nineteenth-century British state, accepting its norms and traditions whilst arguing for some distinctively Irish preoccupations. The Catholic Church played a role, and it was partly its influence which saw the 17 March celebrations of St. Patrick's Day become increasingly structured and respectable. The growing Irish presence in Britain in early nineteenth century also provoked a revival of those anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiments which were key dimensions of historic English, and later British, popular nationalism. Residential clustering and church-based community life were therefore factors which helped keep the Irish apart and preserve a distinctive presence.

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The Irish in Manchester c. 1750–1921

Resistance, adaptation and identity

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