Irish Politics and Labour: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives, 1798-1914

Donald MacRaild, Kyle Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Irish Diaspora is a series of transnational networks connecting emigrant communities with the homeland and each other. Such connections had long historical roots and a broad geographical extent. This chapter demonstrates the range of movements adhered to by a wide range of Irish emigrants in the long nineteenth century, from early republican and trades’ union movements, to modern nationalist groups and labour institutions. The discussion is shaped by the concept that transnationalism extends beyond the migration of Irish culture and has meaning primarily as a method of demonstration consciousness and action beyond Ireland. Transnationalism is a method for analysing a mosaic of individuals, groups and activities connected and sustained across national borders. Its value is predicated upon the existence of sources which enable the study of multiple locations: not as isolated instances of culture and behaviour, but as a genuine set of connected communities whose transnationalism lies in their communication across space, their coordination of activity or their exampling of each other’s strategies. The chapter seeks to highlight how immigrants brought modes of behaviour and forms of action that were Irish in character and had a distinct effect on host institutions. Irish nationalist movements provide the clearest examples of this continuing importance of Ireland in the immigrant’s sense of identity; while labour organisations, such as trades’ unions and working-class political parties felt the impact of Irish modes of behaviour beyond innate nationalism. Ultimately, we make the case for transnational connections between Irish people and non-Irish actors, and for the blending and blurring of modes of activity, thus moving away from the idea that the nationalist struggle at home was somehow divorced from other movements for political and social change.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational Perspectives on Modern Irish History
EditorsNiall Whelehan
Place of PublicationNew York
ISBN (Print)9780415719803
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jan 2015


  • Ireland
  • Irish history
  • transnational
  • comparative
  • migration
  • labour


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