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A Land of Dreams: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Irish in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Maine, 1880-1923

A Land of Dreams: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Irish in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Maine, 1880-1923

by Patrick Mannion

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Wherever they settled, immigrants from Ireland and their descendants shaped and reshaped their understanding of being Irish in response to circumstances in both the old and new worlds. In A Land of Dreams, Patrick Mannion analyzes and compares the evolution of Irish identity in three communities on the prow of northeastern North America: St John’s, Newfoundland, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These three port cities, home to diverse Irish populations in different stages of development and in different national contexts, provide a fascinating setting for a study of intergenerational ethnicity. Mannion traces how Irishness could, at certain points, form the basis of a strong, cohesive identity among Catholics of Irish descent, while at other times it faded into the background. Although there was a consistent, often romantic gaze across the Atlantic to the old land, many of the organizations that helped mediate large-scale public engagement with the affairs of Ireland – especially Irish nationalist associations – spread from further west on the North American mainland. Irish ethnicity did not, therefore, develop in isolation, but rather as a result of a complex interplay of local, regional, national, and transnational networks. This volume shows that despite a growing generational distance, Ireland remained “a land of dreams” for many immigrants and their descendants. They were connected to a transnational Irish diaspora well into the twentieth century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780773554061
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 07/24/2018
Series: McGill-Queen's Studies in Ethnic History , #46
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Patrick Mannion is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at Boston College.

Table of Contents

Tables and Figures xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations xvii

Introduction: The Irish Diaspora in Comparative Perspective 3

1 The Setting: St John's, Newfoundland; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Portland, Maine 17

2 Everyday Irishness: Associational Life, 1880-1916 41

3 Charitable Relief, the Land League, and Home Rule Nationalism, 1880-1891 77

4 The Changing Face of Ethnicity: Waning Nationalism and the Catholic Church 121

5 Reinvented Nationalism: The Third Home Rule Bill, the Ulster Crisis, and the First World War, 1911-1918 163

6 An Ethnic Resurgence: Engagement with Irish Nationalism, 1919-1923 197

Conclusion: Understanding Irish Ethnicity in the Diaspora 233


A Occupational Categories 243

B Biographical Details of Members of the Portland Ancient Order of Hibernians, 1912 245

C Traceable Members of the Portland Land League, 1881-1882 246

D Provisional Dominion Council of the Self-Determination for Ireland League of Newfoundland, October 1920 248

E Names and Occupations of the 1920 Portland Friends of Irish Freedom Executive 249

Notes 251

Bibliography 293

Index 319

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