March 18, 2007


Boom times, crackdown slow emerald wave (Kevin Cullen, March 18, 2007, Boston Globe)

Ireland's booming economy and the crackdown on illegal immigration that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have combined to produce a reversal of migration patterns for those who have long made up the biggest, and most influential, ethnic group in Boston.

Put simply, more people are returning to Ireland, and fewer are replacing them, reversing a pattern of immigration that was established in the late 1840s, when Ireland's potato blight killed 1 million people and sent 2 million others scurrying for the ships.

In one generation, Boston was transformed from an overwhelmingly Protestant city in which most of the inhabitants traced their ancestry to England, to a largely Roman Catholic city in which thousands had roots in Ireland. The Irish came to dominate Boston and the metropolitan area -- first its politics, then its commerce -- like no other ethnic group, putting their stamp on a place that is universally regarded as the most Irish city in America.

Now if we can just get the Krauts to go home Ben Franklin will have won.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 18, 2007 8:58 AM
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