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In-Person Drop In and Live Stream Research Support Continues

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For the rest of March there are ample opportunities to get more research support from the UMass Lowell Librarians.

You’re welcome to join us for any of these sessions. If you need additional help, please use Ask A Librarian to contact the Research & Learning Librarians.

The Irish in Lowell: A Resource Guide

St. Patrick's Church in The Acre section of Lowell (black and white illustration)

Irish immigrants did a lot of the physical work of building the city of Lowell as we know it today. The first Irish immigrants arrived in Lowell in the 1820’s. In the early days, they were primarily employed as physical laborers, digging and maintaining the canals needed to power the mills.

Because they were not provided housing by the mill owners, something that most other workers were afforded, the earliest Irish lived in camps in the area of Lowell now known as the Acre, largely segregated from the rest of the city. The expectation from the mill owners had been that the laborers would do the work needed and then leave. Quickly, however, whole families joined the men, and a community began to grow in the “Paddy Camps.”

With the arrival of the Irish Potato famine in the 1840’s, the numbers of Irish in Lowell grew exponentially as those fleeing the famine joined the existing Irish community.

The Irish who settled in the Acre faced prejudice like that which affected Irish immigrants across the nation. Racist stories and editorials appeared in local papers, and there was occasional racially motivated violence as the Irish community grew.

Since the early days of Lowell the Irish community has grown in power and influence. Irish politicians dominated city hall for decades in the 20th century, and gradually Lowell has become home to many more immigrant populations, making it the community full of diversity we know today.

To learn more check out our Irish in Lowell bibliography of resources on LibGuides.