The development and growth of Cleveland can be attributed to the collective efforts of the many immigrant groups that lived, worked, socialized, played, and worshiped within the city.
The Irish were one of the first ethnic communities to settle in Cleveland; their influence on Cleveland's development can be traced back to the construction of the Ohio-Erie Canal during the late 1820's. From these early days of digging canals onward, the Irish community would continue to both shape, and be shaped by the environment around them. These immigrants and their descendants would make their mark on the city's history through the development of businesses, social groups, religious organizations, and even gangs.
While Cleveland's Irish districts have long since disappeared, its Irish heritage can be uncovered through an exploration of the immigrants' neighborhoods, churches, schools, and workplaces. These spaces speak to the traditions, daily routines, and aspirations of the individuals that made up the Irish community. Pieced together, the stories that these sites offer can provide us with a better understanding of the Irish immigrant experience in Cleveland.