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How many Americans claim Irish ancestry, heritage, descent whatever you want to call it? There are approximately 33 million Irish Americans. (10% of the country) Other examples include Italian Americans 6%, Polish Americans 3% Mexican Americans 11% you get the picture, that’s, America the proverbial melting pot.

I am one of those people that claim to be Irish American. My ethnicity is Irish. My Mom is from Mayo and my Dad is from Kilkenny. I have dual citizenship as do all my brothers. There are neighborhoods where concentrations of certain cultures live but where I grew up the only other Irish Americans I knew were my cousins, Pat, Sean, Mary, Mike & Margaret Butler. Now my cousin Margaret lives in Seattle and continues Irish traditions with her husband & kids. My brothers and I are proud of our heritage, two of my brothers moved back to Ireland several years ago.

Growing up I came across Irish people that told me I wasn’t Irish, or you would often hear the term, “plastic Paddy” a term to undermine the Irishness of the Irish diaspora. When I was young it confused me and made me feel excluded from my parent’s world.

Today I understand it though because so many Americas claim to be Irish American and yet they probably couldn’t tell you where their family roots are from. So therefore, this has made the Irish numb to Americans claiming they have Irish blood. Because a substantial number of people who claim to be Irish American, their families came over before the famine and they are disconnected from Ireland but still claim they are Irish. So, when Irish people meet me, they assume my parents are not Irish that maybe it’s a great distant relative that was Irish. However, these statements about not being Irish or being just a yank, today mean nothing to me. I know who I am, where I come from & whom I support. For anyone out there claiming to be Irish American, whatever percent you are, don’t let anyone discourage you or make you feel less. However, I think if you are going to say it, mean it, make sure you know where your family comes from, read Irish history books, learn some Gaelic and visit Ireland (often as possible) not just the warm countries with umbrella drinks.

Massachusetts has the highest percentage of Irish Americans. A quote from 1924 that I love, “The children of Irish parents born abroad are sometimes more Irish than the Irish themselves, and they would come with added experience and knowledge to our country, Patrick Kenny, Seanad”.

I would like to highlight three famous Irish Americans: Jean Butler, Bill Murray & Denis Leary.

Jean Butler is an Irish step dancer from New York. Her parents are from Co. Mayo. In 1994 she was the lead female dancer who performed a five-minute dance at the Eurovision Contest titled Riverdance. It was so popular she & Michael Flatley stretched it into a full show. Riverdance has been around for 25 years. Butler collaborated to create the show “Dancing on Dangerous Ground”, which was based on the legend, Diarmuid and Grainne. In 2000 Butler was awarded, “Outstanding contribution to Irish Dance.” She was a judge on the Radio Teilifis Eireann (Irish Broadcasting Service) reality series, Celebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels.

Bill Murray is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He is from Illinois, raised in Wilmette, IL. Murray’s grandparents were from Co. Cork & Co. Galway. Murray has starred in at least 65 movies. Murray and his eight siblings attended St. Joseph’s grammar school. I worked at St. Joseph’s school & they have a hallway dedicated to Murray. Murray appeared on the first episode of Late Night with David Letterman and also Letterman’s final episode before he retired. Beyond show business Murray is part owner of the St. Paul Saints a baseball team in Minnesota. He is also partner with his brothers in Caddy Shack a restaurant they opened in Florida. In 2016 Murray was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the Kennedy Center, and was recently inducted into the Irish-American Hall of Fame.

Denis Leary is an actor, comedian, writer & producer. Leary was in about 40 films. He was born in Massachusetts. His parents are from Co. Kerry. (Leary is 3rd cousin to Conan O’Brien) Leary describes himself as a “Jack Kennedy Democrat”. In 1999 firefighters from Leary’s hometown were killed in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire and among them were Leary’s cousin and friends. Leary founded the Leary Firefighters foundation in 2000 to help buy equipment, new facilities and the families that lost loved ones. Leary was asked by the Boston Bruins to help orchestrate a Boston based comedy show for cancer charity, it became, Comics Come Home, where Leary has hosted annually ever since.

Whatever your cultural background is, treat yourself and others kindly. A suggested book for this topic: “My father left me Ireland”, by Michael Brendan Dougherty
Gaelic for the month:

Heritage-oidhreacht, Family-teaghlach/clann, American-Meiriceanach

“You know you were brought up by Irish parents if any crisis large or small, the first thing to say is, Jesus, Mary & Joseph”
I love you mom & dad and thank you for every sacrifice you made for all of us…
If you have any questions/comments, please find me at: Molanive@yahoo.com

How many Americans claim Irish ancestry, heritage, descent whatever you want to call it? There are approximately 33 million Irish Americans. (10% of the country) Other examples include Italian Americans 6%, Polish Americans 3% Mexican Americans 11% you get the picture, that’s, America the proverbial melting pot.

I am one of those people that claim to be Irish American. My ethnicity is Irish. My Mom is from Mayo and my Dad is from Kilkenny. I have dual citizenship as do all my brothers. There are neighborhoods where concentrations of certain cultures live but where I grew up the only other Irish Americans I knew were my cousins, Pat, Sean, Mary, Mike & Margaret Butler. Now my cousin Margaret lives in Seattle and continues Irish traditions with her husband & kids. My brothers and I are proud of our heritage, two of my brothers moved back to Ireland several years ago.

Growing up I came across Irish people that told me I wasn’t Irish, or you would often hear the term, “plastic Paddy” a term to undermine the Irishness of the Irish diaspora. When I was young it confused me and made me feel excluded from my parent’s world.

Today I understand it though because so many Americas claim to be Irish American and yet they probably couldn’t tell you where their family roots are from. So therefore, this has made the Irish numb to Americans claiming they have Irish blood. Because a substantial number of people who claim to be Irish American, their families came over before the famine and they are disconnected from Ireland but still claim they are Irish. So, when Irish people meet me, they assume my parents are not Irish that maybe it’s a great distant relative that was Irish. However, these statements about not being Irish or being just a yank, today mean nothing to me. I know who I am, where I come from & whom I support. For anyone out there claiming to be Irish American, whatever percent you are, don’t let anyone discourage you or make you feel less. However, I think if you are going to say it, mean it, make sure you know where your family comes from, read Irish history books, learn some Gaelic and visit Ireland (often as possible) not just the warm countries with umbrella drinks.

Massachusetts has the highest percentage of Irish Americans. A quote from 1924 that I love, “The children of Irish parents born abroad are sometimes more Irish than the Irish themselves, and they would come with added experience and knowledge to our country, Patrick Kenny, Seanad”.

I would like to highlight three famous Irish Americans: Jean Butler, Bill Murray & Denis Leary.

Jean Butler is an Irish step dancer from New York. Her parents are from Co. Mayo. In 1994 she was the lead female dancer who performed a five-minute dance at the Eurovision Contest titled Riverdance. It was so popular she & Michael Flatley stretched it into a full show. Riverdance has been around for 25 years. Butler collaborated to create the show “Dancing on Dangerous Ground”, which was based on the legend, Diarmuid and Grainne. In 2000 Butler was awarded, “Outstanding contribution to Irish Dance.” She was a judge on the Radio Teilifis Eireann (Irish Broadcasting Service) reality series, Celebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels.

Bill Murray is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He is from Illinois, raised in Wilmette, IL. Murray’s grandparents were from Co. Cork & Co. Galway. Murray has starred in at least 65 movies. Murray and his eight siblings attended St. Joseph’s grammar school. I worked at St. Joseph’s school & they have a hallway dedicated to Murray. Murray appeared on the first episode of Late Night with David Letterman and also Letterman’s final episode before he retired. Beyond show business Murray is part owner of the St. Paul Saints a baseball team in Minnesota. He is also partner with his brothers in Caddy Shack a restaurant they opened in Florida. In 2016 Murray was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the Kennedy Center, and was recently inducted into the Irish-American Hall of Fame.

Denis Leary is an actor, comedian, writer & producer. Leary was in about 40 films. He was born in Massachusetts. His parents are from Co. Kerry. (Leary is 3rd cousin to Conan O’Brien) Leary describes himself as a “Jack Kennedy Democrat”. In 1999 firefighters from Leary’s hometown were killed in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire and among them were Leary’s cousin and friends. Leary founded the Leary Firefighters foundation in 2000 to help buy equipment, new facilities and the families that lost loved ones. Leary was asked by the Boston Bruins to help orchestrate a Boston based comedy show for cancer charity, it became, Comics Come Home, where Leary has hosted annually ever since.

Whatever your cultural background is, treat yourself and others kindly. A suggested book for this topic: “My father left me Ireland”, by Michael Brendan Dougherty
Gaelic for the month:

Heritage-oidhreacht, Family-teaghlach/clann, American-Meiriceanach

“You know you were brought up by Irish parents if any crisis large or small, the first thing to say is, Jesus, Mary & Joseph”
I love you mom & dad and thank you for every sacrifice you made for all of us…
If you have any questions/comments, please find me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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