The Men Who Built Britain: A History of the Irish Navvy

RePrint now available! Limited, hardback, special edition dedicated to the on-site chaplains who shared the lives of the Irish navvies on British civil engineering sites in the last century.

The Irish in Britain are the second-largest group in the Irish Diaspora, after those in the United States, yet little is known of their history. Of the Irish in Britain those involved in the construction industry, which was the largest single employer of Irish males, have been studied least.

Their monuments endure – the dams, canals, roads & railways, but the men themselves are largely either ignored or despised. This book, generously illustrated with striking pictures, many never previously published, tells their story for the first time in its true context.

The history of the Irish in British construction provides a key to the culture of migration, which for over two centuries defined society in the West of Ireland, as well as being central to the experience of the Irish in Britain.

The book is the outcome of five years of research and quote’s extensively from over sixty hours of recorded interviews with Irish navvies and sub-contractors, senior English management, and relatives of those involved.

Some of those interviewed, ageing survivors of a way of life which is no more, have since passed away. This work stands as a true record of the life of the Irish navvy, and a lasting monument to his sacrifices and achievements.