Many Catholics migrated from Ireland to other European countries during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Those who settled in Catholic regions of Europe are relatively well known, but little attention has been paid to an Irish Catholic community that appeared in London in the late seventeenth century and flourished during the eighteenth century. This community included aristocrats, gentry, merchants, and professionals, who often retained close connections with Ireland, and who belonged to wider Irish Catholic networks in continental Europe and in some European colonies. These Irish had many connections with English Catholics of their own class, with whom they often attended school, and among whom they often intermarried. London, the capital city of a Protestant state, was sufficiently large, diverse, and tolerant to accommodate a vibrant Catholic community. Catholics were excluded from public office and subject to certain forms of legal discrimination, but their lives were in many ways indistinguishable from those of their Protestant counterparts. The Irish community in London merits recognition as an important part of the Irish Catholic “diaspora,” and some of its members played an influential role in representing the interests of Catholics in Ireland to the government in London.
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John Bergin; Irish Catholics and Their Networks in Eighteenth-Century London. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 January 2015; 39 (1): 66–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-2834106
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