No Irish Need Apply


Mass emigration began in Ireland during the Great Famine. In America the Irish were likened to the black slaves and ‘No Irish Need Apply’ signs were commonplace. In Britain ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’ signs could be seen as recently as the 1970s. The Irish were considered to be angry, drunk, and stupid and they were also persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Over time the Irish assimilated into these societies and over 150 years of emigration ceased with the arrival of the Celtic Tiger era. Thousands of jobs were created in technology, finance, and construction. For this first time in it’s history, Ireland experienced immigration into the country and by the end of the Celtic Tiger over 10% of the population were foreign immigrants. These migrant workers mainly took up unskilled/semi-skilled jobs and there were reports that they were being exploited and mistreated.

Many of Ireland’s foreign immigrants left after the death of the Celtic Tiger and they took with them a new view of Ireland and it’s people. In Poland there has been reports that new ‘No Irish’ signs have been erected outside building sites in reaction to how they were treated in Ireland.

The purpose of this piece is to highlight the prejudice that Irish people experienced in America and Britain and also to highlight the prejudice that foreign immigrants, in turn, experienced in Ireland.