According to the 1841 census Ireland had a population of 8 million, by 1851 the population was down to 6.5 million and decline further to 4 million in 1931….half of its previous population. Most of this drop was due to the Irish potato famine and the repression of the Catholic faith as they fled the country in search of a better life as well as religious freedom.
The heart-wrenching scene depicted here “Emigrants Leave Ireland” by Henry Doyle (1868) was repeated thousands of times as families left with their few belongings, realizing they would likely never again see the family members and friends that they left behind.
The U.S.A. received the most immigrants: almost 4 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930, which was almost half the population of Ireland.
A recent article by BBC points that the population as of the latest census the population has finally risen to 5 million, still nowhere near the levels of 1841 but an increase nonetheless. Like many countries, though, the population is aging…..which is not a good sign (unless you believe the fallacy the world is over-populated, which it is not).
You can read the article here.