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The Irish in Post-War Britain$
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Enda Delaney

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276677

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276677.001.0001

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In a Strange Land 1

In a Strange Land 1

(p.45) 2 In a Strange Land1
The Irish in Post-War Britain

Enda Delaney (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the initial responses of the migrating Irish to the new environment as well as the ambiguous position of the Irish within the broader social landscape of post-war Britain. Few Irish migrants possessed illusions of Britain as an El Dorado. Preconceptions were formed well in advance of leaving home. It was most certainly not seen as the promised land of biblical imagery, and expectations of life in this ‘strange land’ were invariably formed by the wider cultural milieu of independent Ireland. The view that the Irish were an element of British society, yet still somehow on the margins, was an all-pervasive one. This ‘strange land’ with its unfamiliar physical landscape would never be ‘home’, and even after decades living in Britain the vision of return and ultimate redemption remained a defining feature of the social imaginary.

Keywords:   post-war Britain, Ireland, immigration, migrants, social imaginary

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