Being of Irish decent, I was compelled to write about the Irish who immigrated to the United States during the Irish Potato Famine of the mid 1800's. Life in Ireland was cruel; it was filled with poverty, disease and English oppression. However, life in America was not quite what they expected either. They did not expect to be faced with the decimation and greed that they found (Hy Kinsella, 2011). According to Hy Kinsella (2011) one Irishman wrote, "Our position in America is one of shame and poverty. No group was considered lower than an Irishman in America during the 1850s" (para 2). The following are Margaret Ryan's journal entries. Margaret is a young girl of 15, who immigrated to America with her family in 1850.
My name is Margaret Ryan. Everyone calls me Maggie. I migrated to America five years ago with my parents. I still miss the green fields of Ireland especially in the summer months when Boston is so hot.
My Da is a decent, hard-working man. He was a farmer in Ireland. He had been one of the first to see what was starting to happen with the potato crops (The History Place, 2000). In order to try to protect his family, he sent my older brother, Patrick, to live with Uncle Daniel in Boston. Uncle Daniel is Mama's brother. He and his wife, Maeve, migrated to America in 1847. Uncle Daniel was one of the lucky ones and owns a store. Patrick was sent to work for him. Patrick sent Da some of the money he earned working for Uncle Daniel to add to what little Mama and Da could save to buy passage for the three of us to go to America as well.