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Happy St Patrick’s Day!
A Day of “Feast and Celebration” – A day where you wear green, celebrate Christianity reaching Ireland (Yeah… That’s what this festival is about guys!) and most of all – Lent restrictions are lifted and you get to eat and drink as much as you want! Paddy’s Day is a good one.
But other than the over eating and drinking, why do Scousers love the Irish so much? Why is Paddy’s day such a big deal?
Well, let me take you on a quick and brief history lesson to make you come to know why we love the Irish. You see, 3 out of every 4 people you meet in Liverpool will be of Irish decent, the accent we have is because of the Irish, our love of music and success in the industry is because of the Irish and the workers’ rights and sense of fight we have can be claimed by the Irish too! You are learning already aren’t you?
We are basically all Irish
For over 800 years the Irish have been coming to England, many of which have come to Liverpool. In fact more Irish have settled in Liverpool than any other British city (with the exception of Glasgow arguably). The accent we have is a mixture of Lancaster/Cheshire and of course, Irish. So many famous Scousers have had Irish roots too, like Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Cilla Black, Coleen Rooney, John Bishop, Paul O’Grady and of course – Dale Roberts (Dead famous me, mate – Honest!).
Because of Sport
The name of LFCs stadium at Anfield came from the old town land of Annefield in New Ross, County Wexford. The first director of football at Liverpool FC was a Monaghan man, John McKenna and the first manager of Liverpool, formerly manager of Everton, was William Edward Barclay, from Ireland. The first Irish player to play for Liverpool FC was David Hannah from County Down. Another great Irish player for Liverpool was Elisha Scott from Belfast, who played for the team for nearly 20 years. Everton has also had its fair share of Irish players and signed its first, Jack Kirwan, way back in 1898.
Politics as well
Politically, Ireland has influenced us so much too! Liverpool’s first mayor was Irish-born Richard Sadlier. He was born in Cork. In 1825 he came to Liverpool and was mayor of the city from 1872. Jane Kennedy was the first elected Labour MP for Liverpool Broadgreen. Maybe more notably, James Larkin was born to Irish parents in Liverpool and became a full-time trade union organiser in 1905. He then moved to Belfast in 1907 and founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, the Irish Labour Party and later the Workers’ Union of Ireland.
Because of Culture
After the famine in the 1800’s, our population of Irish went from 17% to 26%. The Irish married not just with the English and the Welsh and Scots who also settled in Liverpool, but with people from the Caribbean and Africa, which is why many black Scousers have Irish surnames.
Our culture has undeniably been touched by the Irish in all areas! If it’s not politics, street names such as Ulster Road, Belfast Road, Killarney Road and Donegal Road, being the only English city to have a significant Orange Order membership and of course our very own Beatles being of majority Irish descent, we have a lot to thank the Irish for, they have made our city greater – and we haven’t even mentioned all the great pubs they have given us!
Have a great Paddy’s Day/Weekend!
By Dale Roberts
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