The Irish Wilderness is a 16,227-acre wilderness area in the U.S. State of Missouri. The U.S. Congress designated it a wilderness in 1984. The Irish Wilderness is located within the Eleven Point Ranger District of the Mark Twain National Forest, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Alton, Missouri. It was named after an Irish CatholicPriest, John Joseph Hogan, founded a settlement of about forty Irish families here starting in 1858; the settlement was wiped out during the American Civil War and has remained a wilderness ever since. The Irish Wilderness is one of eight wilderness areas protected and preserved in Missouri.