The Greening of the Prairie: Irish Immigration and Settlement in McLean County

For the past two hundred years, Irish people have made their way to Central Illinois. This exhibit examines why they left Ireland, the challenges they faced once they arrived, their successes and failures, and the impact their presence has had on our community. The exhibit features historic objects, photographs and maps about those of Irish-Catholic famine immigrants who came to this area in the early 1850s as industrial and farming pioneers. From these folks came families whose names and stories are with us today, Costigan, Brady, Flynn, Deneen, O'Neil, Irvin and many others They worked to build the railroad and opened the early black-dirt prairie farms. Stories of Scots-Irish pioneers who built homes much like they had in Ireland and Scotland, and brought with them spinning, and weaving skills are featured as well.

Related Resources

Archival Collection Finding Aid
Contains the research for this exhibit.

Mar 17, 2012 – Jan 16, 2016

Sponsored by

State Farm