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The Irish Conquered the World With Plentiful Cheap Labor and Pints of Guinness

December 29, 2022
00:00 43:45
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When people think of Irish emigration, they often think of the Great Famine of the 1840s, which caused many to flee Ireland for the United States. But the real history of the Irish diaspora is much longer, more complicated, and more global. Today’s guest, Sean Connolly, author of “On Every Tide: The Making and Remaking of the Irish World,” argues that the Irish exodus helped make the modern world.

Starting in the eighteenth century, the Irish fled limited opportunity at home and fanned out across America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These emigrants helped settle new frontiers, industrialize the West, and spread Catholicism globally. This led to the commodification of Irish culture, best exemplified by the ubiquity of the Irish Pub and Guinness, the popularity of River Dance, and annual Saint Patrick’s Day parades.

As the Irish built vibrant communities abroad, they leveraged their newfound power—sometimes becoming oppressors themselves.

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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to
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