Irish migration to Britain has a long history, and it is very prevalent in the north-west (Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire in general) due to the NW’s industrial past, when the Irish left Ireland to seek work in the mills of Lancashire.
My own forebears (my father’s side of the family…my mother’s side of the family have roots in Scandinavia) left Ireland well over a century ago to seek a better life, and while I don’t generally think of myself as having Irish roots on a day to day basis, and didn’t grow up in a family who still embraced their Irish roots. My grandfather seemed to take greater delight in the rather English phenomenon of brass bands, often associated with mills, than of anything vaguely Irish. This wasn’t an anti-Irish sentiment, simply more of him being consumed by a love of all things brass.
My father, aunt and older brother all played in a mill brass band (although none ever actually worked in a mill, Britain’s great textile past had faded by the time they were all seeking work, and the opportunity to go to university, the first in his family to do so, ensured my father took a different career route.
Brass bands play a large part in a general British culture, being the focus of the film Brassed Off.
Other readers might recall The Black Dyke Mills Brass Band having a hit with ‘Thingummybob’, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney), which was a hit single in 1968.
I’d better pull this posting back on track!
I was made aware of my Irish roots today when I over-exposed my pale, Celtic skin to the sun (my avatar doesn’t wear reddish hair for nothing!) while toiling in the garden (nude, of course) without appropriate sun protection. Usually I’m very good about lathering myself in sun block, but I stepped out for ‘five minutes weeding’ that turned into a several hour project involving the re-design of an entire border, and re-working an area of my greenhouse.
Result? I’m burned. And I just managed to get out of it in time, I believe, on the cusp of suffering heat/sunstroke.
Please, if you’re out in what has turned out to be a marvellous English summer so far, be careful!