The Irish in America

Day 30: Favorites of Irish America


Unidentified woman IIINo idea what to choose for my final Favorite of Irish America. Let’s see…I have selected sports figures, entertainers, writers, Presidents, Grandmas, one or two people who might roll over in their graves at being referred to as Irish American, my dad, a couple of nieces, a dinner, a cake, and even a wedding dress.

I think the best things about Irish America are, naturally, Irish Americans. Whether your ancestors were early colonial settlers or you are becoming a new U.S. citizen this year on the Fourth of July – and everything in between – I love the stories of how Irish immigrants become Americans. And what is even more fascinating is how the descendents of those immigrants become Irish Americans. It gets complicated.

Take this quote from Tom Hayden, an activist and politician:

“I was raised in an Irish American home in Detroit where assimilation was the uppermost priority. The price of assimilation and respectability was amnesia. Although my great-grandparents were victims of the Great Hunger of the 1840s, even though I was named Thomas Emmet Hayden IV after the radical Irish Nationalist exile Thomas Emmet, my inheritance was to be disinherited. My parents knew nothing of this past, or nothing worth passing on.”

What does it mean to identify oneself as Irish American? Why is it so important for us to remember what was forgotten by our ancestors? I guess it’s what genealogy and family history research is all about. I would love to hear what you have to say on the subject. Please leave a comment with your thoughts…

That’s it for my June Favorites of Irish America. Thanks to all the folks who have followed along, left comments, “liked” posts, and became subscribers to the blog! We will have much more on the Irish in America!


Author: Aine

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My heritage pretty much covers the map of Ireland: great-great-grandparents from Cork (Crowley, Foley, Regan), a great-great-grandmother from Clare (Quinn), a great-great-grandfather from Fermanagh (McMahon) and his wife's parents from Mayo (McAndrew), a great-grandmother from Connemara (Hannon) married to my great-grandfather from Laois (McCormack), great-grandparents from Sligo (Flannery), and a great-grandmother from Kildare (Hill). All of those people ended up in Minnesota, where my four grandparents were born. Three and four generations after my people left Ireland for America, I retain all Irish heritage. So much for the melting pot...

2 thoughts on “Day 30: Favorites of Irish America

  1. Assimilation . . . but not forever! Now we remember our heritage. No more amnesia!

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