Between 1880 and 1900, approximately 1.8 million people that were born in Ireland were living in the United States. In Ohio, 55,018 native Irish people resided in the Buckeye state making them the 2nd largest group behind the German immigrant population.
Many Irish immigrants came to the Youngstown area when the PA-OH canal construction began in 1839. While most of the Irish immigrants had hoped to become farmers, having little or no money they took whatever jobs they could get. These jobs were usually among the least desirable ones in the United States, because of the hard work and the poor wages involved, combined with the issue of discrimination.
Through the generations many families have looked to the past to teach their children their heritage and to explain why our ancestors came to Ohio to fulfill a dream and make opportunities for a new life. Since then, the Irish have been a major part of Youngstown’s economy and growth, as in the rest of the country.
If Cleveland is a major hot spot for the Irish, then Youngstown isn’t that far behind. In today’s Youngstown Irish population we can see a wide range of accomplishments represented -- business, politics and several other major professions -- to show that they've made their American dream a reality.
And we can see the same is true of the surrounding communities, like Campbell, Struthers, Poland and Boardman -- they've reaped the benefits from all the hard work of the past. Local groups and organizations -- such as the AOH- Joseph T. Nalley Sr. Div. 6, the LAOH, St. Patrick's Church in Youngstown, and Burk School of Irish Dance -- carry on and preserve the traditions, while also seeking to learn from the lessons of the past.
The Youngstown Irish are a family. With faith, unity and Christian charity, I am proud to be a part of its legacy and to help hand on the traditions to future generations I invite you to come visit Youngstown, bringing friends and family, and spreading the luck around, while patronizing some of the local Irish bars and restaurants we have to offer you -- such as Irish Bob's Pub, O’Donold's, Hackett's Pub and Royal Oaks, to name a few.
Currently there are an estimated 1.6 million Irish in Ohio’s population, with 180,776 in the Youngstown Zip codes alone. So, we have come a long way since 1880, and have a little of something for everyone. We hope to see you here very soon.