Emerald Heritage | What is Irish American Heritage Month?
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1200Px Barack Obama And Enda Kenny In The Oval Office 2012

What is Irish American Heritage Month?

Irish American Heritage Month is an annual month-long celebration in the USA designed to honour and celebrate the role of immigrants and descendants in American life and culture. 

Every year it is celebrated and recognised by the US Government in much the same way, although to a lesser extent, as Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month and countless other ethnic or cultural celebrations. 

When is Irish American Heritage Month?

Irish American Heritage Month has been celebrated every year since 1991 for the entire month of March.

March was specifically chosen as the month of celebration to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s feast day for the patron saint who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle.

George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump have all declared March as a month of celebration and remembrance. 

How is Irish American Heritage Month celebrated?

There are two key moments in Irish American Heritage Month.

The first is Saint Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated on March 17th of every year, and the second is the annual visit of the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) to the US President in the White House Oval Office.

On occasion both of these events can coincide however that’s not always possible due to the busy schedules of the figures involved. 

During this visit the Irish Taoiseach presents the sitting President with a crystal bowl of Shamrock, a traditional Irish symbol, and then the two leaders, plus other figures and team members, enjoy a Friends of Ireland Luncheon.

Saint Patrick’s Day is obviously much less formal and open to everyone the world over with countless celebrations happening across all four corners of the globe, including at home on the Emerald Isle. 

Why does Irish American Heritage Month exist?

Irish immigrants, and their descendants, have filtered into every part of American life and culture during the recent centuries. 

Approximately 33 million modern Americans claim some form of Irish heritage in their ancestry and many of these descendants have gone on to achieve remarkable things.

As far back as July 4th 1776, during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, three Irishmen and five first-generation Irish American’s were involved!

In a more modern sense President John F Kennedy is probably the most famous ever Irish American whilst the likes of Henry Ford, President Andrew Jackson and actors Bill and Joel Murrary also hold a connection to the Emerald Isle.

The impacts of the Irish in America can be felt everywhere from landmarks to everyday culture.


So, next time March rolls around you’ll know exactly why to celebrate! 

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