They were the first large wave of immigrants to land in nineteenth-century America, arriving poor and desperate, uprooted strangers in a strange world. They fought to belong, to survive, and to get ahead, as would all newcomers to America. They endured the hardships and insults that beset all immigrants. They were mostly country folk and they became mostly city people. They were at the bottom of the social ladder and they struggled upwards. They are the Irish – more than four and a quarter million of them who came to the United States between 1820 and 1920.