Céad Míle Fáilte

Céad Míle Fáilte, which means a hundred thousand welcomes in Gaelic, is something that the Irish often show in their hospitality. Their stories are fruitful and flowing, their personalities unreserved and true.

The Birmingham Irish used to make up 4% of the city’s population, but over time this has drastically decreased. Despite this figure, almost 100,000 people continue to turn out at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. This is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Ireland after London and New York.

The Irish Centre in Digbeth is still an active hub for Irish residents, located only a short walk away from the centre. Serving the “best Guinness in town”, the building is host to a weekly ‘Tuesday Club’ led by Sister Teresa Pattinson. Traditional ‘Set Dancing’, games of bingo and light refreshments are commonplace here, and a strong sense of and community feels as alive as the people who frequent it.

Communities of Irish exist in other cities across the world. Bristol and Cheltenham also have pockets of migrants, again with dwindling numbers.

The following photographs were made over a three month period across the three different cities, where a strong relationship and bond was formed with a range of Irish people from varied backgrounds.