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In the 17th and 18th centuries French Calvinist Protestants were persecuted and alienated by a Catholic monarchy, causing as many as 500,000 of them to flee the country.
A small number of them, almost all from around the French city of La Rochelle, ended up in Ireland, settling in small communities in Portarlington, Youghal, Waterford, Cork, Lisburn, Dublin and perhaps most famously in Portarlington in Co Laois.
Several places in Ireland bear the trace of the Huguenot presence still in street names, such as D’Olier St in Dublin, and buildings, such as the French Church () in Portarlington.
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Others were involved in wine and brandy imports, presumably using their contacts in France to set up trading links.
Milling was also associated with the Hugenot communities.