We are fairly sure that you know who St. Patrick was, although if you give his wikipedia page a gander, you will see we all don’t really know much about him. He hasn’t been alive for donkey’s years and we don’t want to make a hames of it, so here are the high notes:
He taught the Irish about the Holy Trinity using the Shamrock.
Although he himself was not Irish, he is the Patron Saint of Ireland.
He may or may not have chased out all the snakes from the Emerald Isle.
Just the cliff notes.
Sure listen we’ll get on with it.
Emigration from Ireland to the US went on for many decades. Between 1820 and 1860, a third of all US immigrants were from Ireland. In the early 1800s, most of the Irish immigrants were Protestant, looking for religious freedom. Once the Potato Famine decimated Ireland, more Catholics joined the throngs, the two religions now splitting almost evenly on their way across the ocean.
Due to a change in inheritance patterns after the famine, farms were left to the oldest son, instead of being divided evenly among male and female offspring. Seeing as the son had a better chance of marrying as a landowner, women had dwindling chances at marriage – though it follows that life was no picnic for the non-eldest men, either.
Arranged marriages became common in all social levels, because when times are tough, just don’t worry about the love and happiness thing. Other women were left with two options, entering a convent or immigrating. Both options required money, but immigration was actually more affordable – some habits are expensive. Many of those who left Ireland were women between the ages of 16 and 24, seeking better social conditions and opportunities. Most were considered to be unskilled labor and took jobs as domestic servants, i.e. chambermaids, nannies, cooks or other positions in wealthy homes.