The luck of the Irish shines on March — which has not one but two Irish celebrations. While most of us know about St. Patrick’s Day, far fewer are aware that Irish-American Heritage Month is celebrated in March as well. That should come as no surprise. Irish Americans have played a prominent role in this country since before the American Revolution. This month gives everyone a chance to discover Irish culture and appreciate the ways Irish immigrants have contributed to the United States.
Irish-American Heritage Month - History
The First Irish-American Heritage Month was Celebrated
As a tribute to Irish Americans, Congress declared March Irish-American Heritage month.
About a million Irish people migrated from Ireland to America during the Irish Potato Famine.
Catholic Migrations Began
England repealed its Anti-Catholic Penal Laws — allowing Catholics to leave the country and come to America.
Irish ink on the Declaration of Independence
Nine of the 56 Declaration of Independence signers were of Irish origin.
Irish soldiers in the Revolutionary War
Irish participation in the American Revolution helped make independence a reality.
How to Observe Irish-American Heritage Month
1. Turn Irish for a month
That sounds like a whole lot of fun. The Irish are known to be fun-loving and cheerful. Begin by wearing lots of green, eat Irish foods like haggis, corned beef and cabbage — or head to an Irish pub for a glass of Guinness.
2. Try some authentic green beer
Did you know the best green beer is made with blue food coloring — which balances light beer's natural yellowish hue?
3. Take part in Irish celebrations
Food, music, dance, and much more. Most of these fun cultural events take place around St. Patrick’s Day.
5 Reasons We Wish We Were Irish
1. Chicago’s river turns green
Every year around St Patrick’s Day, the Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 dyes the Chicago River a Kelly green and it stays that color for a full 5 hours.
2. The Green House
During the White House St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Ceremony, the Irish leader hands a crystal bowl filled with shamrocks to the President.
3. There are more Irish here than there
Over 34 Million Americans are of Irish descent. This number is four times larger than the population of Ireland!
4. Irish built America
Most Irish immigrants worked to build roads, railroads, streets, and sewers — laying the foundations of the country we know today.
5. Did an Irishman discover America?
That’s what one theory suggests! Nine hundred years before Columbus set foot on this land, Brendan the Navigator returned from his voyages and talked of finding a land of an unimaginable size that some historians claim was America.
Why Irish-American Heritage Month is Important
A. It’s a window into the Irish culture
Everyone can enjoy and discover all things Irish by taking part in celebrations this month.
B. It unravels the stories of Irish immigrants
These colorful, important stories deserve to be told because they are a part of American history.
C. Irish Americans can connect to their roots
The Irish imported and adapted their food, music, and and a new style of political organizing — among many other traditions.