emigration of Irish people to England, Scotland and Wales due to the close links between the countries. It is estimated that around six million people in rest of the UK today have an Irish grandparent.
The nineteenth century saw a particular influx of Irish emigrants to Britain – the country’s main industry was agriculture and wages were low, as most of the land was held by English noblemen. 6,000 Irish sailed to America in 1816 where they could earn around five times as much as at home, and many others emigrated to England where they had chance of finding regular employment in the large cities. The biggest wave of all, however, came in the late 1840s when the Great Famine struck in Ireland – blight on the potatoes, on which the majority of the population was dependent, caused 1,500,000 people to lose their lives to hunger and disease between 1845 and 1850. During and after this period around one million people emigrated: England was often a stopping-place on the way to America, Canada or Australia which were more attractive options. A further wave of immigration also occurred between the 1930s and 1950s.