The Irish have had a large role in the history of the United States

Ireland and America have close ties, no doubt about it! Check out these interesting facts about the Irish in America ahead of the 4th of July.

Amer 1

A depiction of Christopher Columbus landing on Watling Island

There were several Irishmen in Christopher Columbus’ crew. But the one who stands out most is Patrick Maguire. In 1492, Irish-born Maguire was the first crew member of Christopher Columbus’ to set foot on North American ground.

At least 15 U.S. presidents have confirmed Irish ancestry

Amer 2 a

U.S. President Andrew Jackson

It’s thought that over 40 percent of all American presidents have some Irish ancestry, but at least 15 of them have confirmed their Irish heritage. The most Irish presidents are Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, both of whose parents were born in Ireland.

The first American general to die in battle was Irish

Amer 3
Richard Montgomery

Dublin-native Richard Montgomery is the first general to have been killed in battle during the American Revolutionary War. Montgomery was killed in the Battle of Quebec during the 1775 invasion of Canada.

Three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Ireland

Amer 4

James Smith, an Irish-born signer of the Declaration of Independence

Three of the eight foreign-born men were natives of Ireland. These Irish patriots of the American Revolution are James Smith, from Northern Ireland; George Taylor, an Irish native and a member of the Committee of Correspondence; and Matthew Thornton, an Irishman who became a member of the Continental Congress in 1776.

Irishmen helped build the White House

Amer 5

The White House in Washington, DC

Not only did Irishman James Hoban design the White House and model it after an Irish building, but the White House was built by the hands of Irishmen as well. Immigrant laborers from various backgrounds as well as slaves were the chief builders of the presidential home. The presidential residence even has a twin building in Ireland – Dublin’s Leinster House is officially twinned with The White House.

A blind Irishman helped compose “The Star Spangled Banner”

Amer 6

Portrait of Turlough Carolan, from R.B. Armstrong “The Irish and Highland Harps”, Edinburgh, David Douglas, 1904

Though British composer John Stafford Smith, who was born in 1750, is credited for composing “The Star Spangled Banner,” the tune is actually based on music composed by the great Irish blind harper Turlough O’Carolan, who died over 35 years before the American Revolution. The melody is metrically identical to O Carolan’s “Bumper Squire Jones” of 1723.

An Irishman is the “father” of the Navy

Amer 7

John Barry, the ‘Father of the US Navy’

John Barry, a native of Co Wexford, is known as the “Father of the American Navy.” He and his crew fought and won the final naval battle.

So these are some of the important links between Ireland and the US that  should make all of us Irish feel especially proud this July 4th?


Article courtesy of Irish Central

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