Department: Irish Studies
In the spring of this year, the Irish in New York Oral History project, part of the Irish Studies program, embarked on an undertaking to capture the experiences of Irish men and women whose lives changed in the early weeks of Covid-19. Most stayed in New York, including Queens—the worst-hit borough at the time—while others returned to Ireland. Some lost jobs or witnessed their businesses fall into crisis, while others experienced isolation or were forced to reinvent their lives overnight. We appreciate how willing and generous these men and women were in sharing their stories with us by phone and during a moment when the first wave of the virus was still at its height. Thanks to them, to our interviewers Eileen Colleran Sprague and Liza Engesser, and to our editor and producer Claire Butler, we are grateful to have this historical record of resilience and hope at a unique moment in the lives of the Irish in New York.