Adjustment to urbanisation can be a painful process for migrant groups from a rural background, and the coping strategies they adopt are a crucial area of scholarly investigation into past societies as well as an important aspect of contemporary political, social and economic life. The sizeable Irish populations that were found in most of Britain's towns and cities by the middle decades of the nineteenth century provide some particularly vivid case material (Collins, 1993; Davis, 1992). The considerable Irish presence in nineteenth century Manchester is of special interest, not least because of the many native and foreign visitors who in the 1830s and 1840s came to this, the first, great industrial city, and carried away adverse stereotypical images of the Irish that were to travel the world. It is possible, however, to give a more balanced and sympathetic view of the urban experience of Irish people. Using a wide range of contemporary sources, it will be shown how the Irish confronted and attempted to cope with an alien and hostile environment.