Welcome to Untold Stories
Almost every Irish family has been touched by emigration. Since 1800 one out of every two people born on the island of Ireland has emigrated. It has been the central thread in the relationship between Ireland and the rest of the world, especially Britain. Today, the Irish Diaspora (Irish emigrants & their descendants) includes 80 million people worldwide. This is more than 13 times the current population of the island of Ireland.
The Irish in Britain
The Irish are the longest established and largest minority community in Britain. Four out of every five children born in Ireland between 1931 and 1941 emigrated in the 1950s with the majority crossing the Irish Sea to Britain. By 1971 there were almost one million Irish-born persons living in Britain, of whom more than 10,000 were living in Leeds. In Britain today there are at least 1.7 million people born to Irish parents, and as many as 6 million of Irish descent.
Although it is not always highlighted, for the majority of Irish in Britain the migrant experience was a positive one. After the natural stresses of leaving home for another country, most found work and settled, made friends and met partners, married and raised families, whilst keeping in touch with home. Some eventually returned to live in Ireland, but the majority chose to stay in their adopted homeland.
The Irish in Leeds
The City of Leeds is nestled in the Aire Valley of West Yorkshire in north-central England, east of the Pennine Range. There has been a substantial Irish Community in the City for almost two centuries. Today, this community numbers some 50,000 persons.
The Untold Stories website, using a combination of a documentary film, and historical narrative accompanied by more than 250 photographs, bears testament to this long-standing and vibrant community. There are also recommended reading lists for those interested in delving a little deeper into the subjects covered throughout the website. An online image archive, which allows registered users to add additional information and leave comments, completes the website.