In 2002, historian W.A. Hart identified 160 references, mostly in newspapers and memoirs, to African people resident in Ireland in the period 1750-1799. These findings, he continued, suggest the likelihood that there was 2,000-3,000 African people in Ireland. This number is as large as the number of African people in France which had a population four times that of Ireland in the same time period. The Irish references are tantalising. Many of them do not give a name for the person. Terms used to describe the unnamed person vary: 'blackamoor' 'Black' 'sable-skinned' 'Indian' 'black Negro' 'exotic'. Without Census records we often lose sight of the person.
It is not uncommon for researchers to come across references to 'African' or 'Indian' people in Ireland whilst engaged in other research. This blog aims to be a repository for these fragmented accounts. It is hoped that over time it may be possible to uncover the names and fate of these 'African' and 'Indian' people in Ireland. Did they remain in Ireland? At least some of them had families in Ireland. What became of their descendants? There are 1870 Census records in South Carolina which give Ireland as the place of birth of people with the racial designation of Black and/or Mulatto. There is much that we do not know.
Contributions are welcome from those who have found these fragments and blogs will be amended if and when further information comes to light.
Hart, W. A., 'Africans in eighteenth-century Ireland' in Irish Historical Studies, 33:129 (May 2002), pp 19-32.
Brennan, Martine, blog to follow re. African Americans in South Carolina with a recorded birth place of Ireland.