By Alan O'Day
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Extra info for A Survey of the Irish in England (1872)
In this, the thinking and toiling mass of Irish in London, and in the class which has worked its way from toil to middle-class competence, are to be found men of much power, real patriotism, and disciplined capacity for political action. Were it not that it would seem invidious, I could point to names whose possessors have all the attributes of thinkers and statesmen; and behind these, hundreds of others who are endeavouring, by education and training, to train themselves for effective service in the struggle for independence on which we are entering.
A few of those who knew their power and appreciated the force of example and union, resolved to remove this unnatural intellectual estrangement, and combine the Gaelic element in the British metropolis with the view of revealing the beauties of its ancient lore and literature - reviving the old language so as to prevent its extinction, and bringing the public acquainted with Celtic history, archaeology, philosophy, philology, and antiquarian remains. The result was the establishment of the Celtic Society of London, which has, since its foundation, little more than six months since, brought together and combined in its members and its management men whose names are a guarantee for ability and energy, zeal and progress.
There are, probably, a quarter of a million people resident in London of Irish birth and parentage, and these more nearly represent the nation at home than do the Irish residents of any other town or city on earth. Here we have the very extremes of Irish society mixing and commingling in the rush and roar of life that rolls for ever in the haunts of fashion, the busy marts, and the crowded thoroughfares of this all-absorbing centre of life. Here are to be met the tyrant and the victim - the oppressor and the oppressed.