The luck of the Irish really does shine on the month of March, with Irish American Heritage Month and St Patrick’s Day to celebrate! Of course, St Patrick’s Day, on March 17th each year, is the most well-known celebration of all things ‘Emerald Isle’. (Boston and New York City reportedly both claim the first St Patrick’s Day Parade!) But did you know that there is also a special celebration of all things Irish, with Irish-American Heritage Month?
What is Irish American Heritage Month?
Since before the American Revolution, Irish Americans have played a prominent role in the USA. The President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year. This special month of Irish-American celebrations aims to give everyone a chance to discover more about Irish culture. Plus, it shines a light on the myriad ways in which Irish immigrants have contributed to the United States. Irish-American Heritage Month is a special proclamation issued every year by the United States President or Congress. It was first celebrated back in 1991. The aim is to honour the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States.
Why does it Matter?
When you look at the statistics, it’s amazing to discover that there are more than 34 million Americans that are of Irish descent. Incredibly, that number is four times larger than the population of Ireland itself! During the years of the potato famine, more than a million Irish nationals arrived on US soil. For example, many Irish immigrants worked to build roads, railroads, streets, and sewers. In fact, they lay the foundations of the country we know today. The contribution to American life of those with Irish roots is massive, and well-worth celebrating!
What Happens at the White House?
Every year in March, the Irish Taoiseach visits the United States for Saint Patrick’s Day. On the morning itself, a Shamrock Ceremony takes place at the White House. A crystal bowl containing shamrock, a traditional symbol of Ireland, is presented to the President in the Oval Office. Here are some ideas for celebrating Irish-American Month…
Delve into your own Irish history
Don’t put it off any longer! For tips on tracing your Irish heritage, click here. Who knows what you could discover about your Irish ancestry? If you would like to proudly display your Irish Heritage, you could consider a surname history or Irish Name scroll. All you need to do is search for your Irish name on our database of last names, and you will find out straight away if we have it. Plus, what’s more, you will see if there was ever a coat of arms associated with your Irish name.
Wear Green and Celebrate!
If you are planning a party or celebration, then you’ll surely want to wear the colour green! Hats, sashes, sunglasses – anything goes! Look out for special Irish celebrations near you. The fun is likely to include food, music, dancing and much more
Head to the Pub!
The Irish are known internationally as a fun-loving nation. What better way to celebrate all things Irish then to head to the pub? Enjoy a glass of authentic Guinness – a pint of the ‘black stuff’! Or why not consider some green beer? It’s made with blue food colouring to balance the natural hue of the pale yellowish colour of the beer.
What’s your Irish descent, and how will you be celebrating St Patrick’s Day, or Irish-American Heritage Month? We’d love to know, so please post your ideas and stories below! And don’t forget to check out your own Irish history!