This is a new departure in Scottish and Irish migration studies. The Scottish diasporic communities closest to home - those which are part of what we sometimes term the 'near diaspora' - are those we know least about. Whilst an interest in the overseas Scottish diaspora has grown in recent years, Scots who chose to settle in other parts of the United Kingdom have been largely neglected. This book addresses this imbalance. Scots travelled freely around the industrial centres of northern Britain throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries and Belfast was one of the most important ports of call for thousands of Scots. The Scots played key roles in shaping Belfast society in the modern period: they were essential to its industrial development, they were at the centre of many cultural, philanthropic and religious initiatives and were welcomed by the host community accordingly. Yet despite their obvious significance, in staunchly Protestant, Unionist, and at times insular and ill at ease Belfast, individual Scots could be viewed with suspicion by their hosts, dismissed as 'strangers' and cast in the role of interfering outsiders.
This is the only book-length scholarly study of the Scots in modern Ireland. It brings to light the fundamental importance of Scottish migration to Belfast society during the 19th century. It advances our knowledge and understanding of Scotland's 'near diaspora'. It highlights areas of tension in Ulster-Scottish relations during the Home Rule era. It puts forward a new agenda for a better understanding of British in-migration to Ireland in the modern period.