William Rossiter

No Irish Need Apply

“No Irish Need Apply” The Irish who fled to America to escape the potato famine of the 1840s often met a wall of hostility, vividly reflected in the era’s songs. The new arrival might read “No Irish Need Apply” on a job announcement, and hear a popular song about a “black-hearted ruffian from Erin Go Bragh.” But in time the Irish “became Americans” and served with distinction in peace and in war. Eventually, the songs about “Paddy and Biddy,” hard-drinking brawlers from the “Ould Sod,” were replaced by songs about “Patrick and Mavoureen,” romantic figures from the “Emerald Isle.” In this program Rossiter uses songs and stories to exemplify the barriers between the new arrivals and respectability.