The History of Early Irish Immigrants in Denver

Early Irish Immigrants in Denver, Colorado.

The Rocky Mountain Irish Roots Collective presents a virtual history session InSights & InPerson~Connections: Irish Immigrants in Early Denver

Tuesday, March 16th, 7:00 pm MST – Zoom Conferencing, $3.00 members, $5.00 general public

Join Curatorial Services and Collections Access staff at History Colorado Center as we host Dr. James Walsh, an Associate Clinical Professor in the Dept. of Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver. via ZOOM as he discusses the story of Irish immigrants in early Colorado, focusing closely on Irish labor activism, Irish churches, Irish immigrant networks to Denver. Walsh will be joined by UCD student Kira Boatright who has done important groundbreaking research using census data to map Irish concentrations in early Denver and other parts of the state.

The Irish story in early Colorado is largely untold. Colorado’s early labor movement was driven by Irish immigrants, who pushed for an eight-hour workday, safer working conditions, and the right to organize a union. They brought traditions of agrarian resistance and retributive justice with them to the U.S. Many of the Irish who fled the Pennsylvania Anthracite region in the wake of the hanging of twenty alleged Molly Maguires made their way to Leadville and other parts of Colorado during the 1880s. Colorado’s early Catholic infrastructure and leadership was heavily Irish and many of the early orphanages and hospitals in the state were run by Irish nuns. This presentation will paint Colorado history green.

About the Presenters

Dr. James Walsh is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Political Science Dept. at the University of Colorado Denver, where he has taught for the past 23 years, specializing in Labor, Immigration, and the Irish Diaspora in the American West. Walsh is author of Michael Mooney and the Leadville Irish, co-author of Irish Denver, and is also the founder and Director of the Romero Theater Troupe, a social justice community theater that uses the stage to highlight the history of working class struggle and activism.

Kira Boatright is an undergraduate History student at the University of Colorado Denver. Her areas of interest include Irish studies, labor history, and immigration history. Under the mentorship of Dr. James Walsh, she has researched and compiled data on the Irish of early Colorado, particularly in Denver and Leadville, to gain a better understanding of who the Colorado Irish were, what they did, and where they lived. Her research and work have included the creation of databases of historical records on the Colorado Irish such as census data, parish records, and cemetery records. With the use of census data, she has created maps to visually represent where the Irish lived both statewide and in the city of Denver in 1880. She hopes to continue this research in the future and further uncover the details of the lives of Colorado’s historical Irish population.

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