There are more Irish Americans than purely Irish, making the green island’s legacy a worldwide phenomenon. Though the reasons for the culture spreading like wildfire are mostly due to tragedy, the modern generations can express their appreciation and love of Irish tradition free of oppression. The Irish people helped settle the nation from shortly after its beginning to well into the 20th century, giving the American people an ancient culture to love for centuries. If baby’s roots extend all the way back to the land of saints and scholars, then an Irish American baby girl, boy, or gender-neutral name will celebrate their heritage every day.
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How did the Great Irish Famine affect the United States of America?
If you’re an Irish-American, you’ve likely been taught about the tragedy of the Irish Famine (also known as the Potato Famine or the Great Irish Famine). After all, your ancestors probably emigrated from Ireland during this period. But in case you haven’t learned about the Great Famine, here are some need-to-know facts. As a result of the British Empire’s long-standing occupation and demands, the native Irish people were starved and lived through unspeakable hardship in the years 1845–1882, with the population still not yet recovered. A potato crop failure led to a mass foot shortage for the people, but to make matters worse, the Irish were still expected to export all of their produce to the British Empire. Many populations by this point had experienced hardship due to colonization, and Indigenous groups from North America sent food to Ireland to aid the few that stayed in the country. However, the oppression would last far longer than the official years of the Famine (1845–1852), and mass emigration to North America would continue all the way through to the 1880s, with another spike after the World Wars. The peak of Ireland’s population occurred in 1841, at 8.2 million people, but after the deaths and emigration, Ireland’s still growing population is only just over 5 million.
How many Irish Americans are there?
After the mass emigration of the Irish to America in the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, and the steady trickle since, about 9.7% of the entire American population as of 2010 identifies as Irish-American. That is about 32 million people, which is more than six times the total population of Ireland! Of course, these numbers are hard to verify, given the generational information lost to time and poor documentation of the first immigrants. But even with the murky numbers, it is generally understood that, since 1820, over 6 million Irish people left home for the distant shores of America. After settling and making families, the Irish grew roots in the States, and it makes that whopping 32 million seem a lot more plausible.
How have Irish Americans shaped the United States of America?
The Irish quickly integrated themselves into the American culture upon leaving their homeland. Becoming valued members of the community through workplace positions that kept their new homes and neighbors safe, it wasn’t uncommon to find Irish police officers, farmers, teachers, and activists for the rights of labor workers and children. Despite facing prejudice from the very recently no-longer-British population, the Irish worked with integrity and fought for better living and working conditions for everyone. In short, the Irish helped shape the American Dream, coming in as one of the many immigrant groups to have made it a better country.