October 12, 2019

Hola: The Irish in Latin America


Irish in Latin America
Phoenix, Arizona – The Irish Center in Phoenix, Arizona was established twenty years ago and has been important in informing the public about Irish culture, Irish language, and Irish history. The Irish Center currently has an exhibit – created by the Irish government – entitled the “The Irish in Latin America”. Thousands of Irish went to Latin America during the Famine and many more followed during the Irish Revolution. Many came as missionaries and plantation owners and others came merchants, colonists, and workers. Argentina attracted the largest numbers of Irish outside the English-speaking world. The exhibit is wide ranging and has displays detailing the Irish contribution to religion, music, writing, and culture in Latin America. It also reflects how the several diasporas made their mark on Latin America and blended with the local populations. The exhibit also explains how many Irish, who first went to America, later went to Latin America for even more opportunities or simply to follow where the work was. For example, Irish railroad workers in America later to Latin America to work on railroads.


The trigger of the mass diasporas of Irish was the Great Famine and later the Revolution. The exhibit begins with a brief history of the Great Famine and then has a display of the 1916 Revolution. The exhibit then focuses on the Irish contribution in Latin America. The spread of Catholicism and missionaries in Latin America was important but the exhibit does not solely focus on this. It is wide ranging and encompasses all of Latin America. The exhibit reflects on Irish influence on Latin music, literature, and other aspects of culture including the dark history of the diaspora – those Irish who became colonists and helped propagate slavery of the indigenous populations.


The Irish in Latin America exhibit will be at the Irish Center until 2020. They currently have a minimal exhibit on the 1916 Revolution. The Irish Center also provides a lending library, classes in the Irish language and various other community functions and events. The Library Manager, Caroline Woodiel, stated that the “Irish Center depends on some funds from the Irish government and their exhibits are usually provided by the Irish government.”


To learn more about the Irish Center go to: https://www.azirish.org/


For more information, email: uncutreport@gmail.com




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