Who are we?

Our guest post today is written by Joseph Murphy

The Mc’s and the O’s with the Irish Blessing hung upon the wall and a Celtic cross on the mantle. With a SIrish Flaghamrock on the sweatshirt and a Claddagh on the same hand we use to salute Old Glory. After generations here, lifetimes given to help forge a nation, is there any Ireland left in the Irish-American?

Are we still the Irish? Or just descendants left here with a name and no choice in the matter. We wear the symbols of the old country with pride but what do they mean to the immigrant turned native?

Cliffs of MoherThis is a past, our shared past. None of us chose to be Irish-American though who would have it any other way? We are the result of our ancestors who quit Ireland but were too stubborn to ever give up being Irish. They came to make a life and had a hand in building an exceptional country, one that for decades wanted nothing to do with us outside of cheap labor and cannon fodder. The young America was leery about a mick and his Catholicism.

But ever bull headed and tough as wrought iron, our ancestors held out, travelled this land and planted the roots that centuries later gave us to the world. And after generations we hold our symbols and carry names with Gaelic roots proudly. Some of us may not feel a strong connection to Ireland and some Irish may laugh at us as pretenders, plastic, just fans of a culture they were born in. But a part of that is ours.

We are a part of the Irish diaspora. The wandering people of Ireland gone to the four corners of the world but never far from her heart. As written in Article 2 of the Constitution of Ireland: “…the Irish Nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.” We are gone, yes, but not forgotten.Newgrange Celtic Spirals - Wikipedia Creative Commons Image

We are those who remember. A part of Irish history is written in footprints all over this Earth while Irish-American footprints are still resting comfortably upon the Moon. We remember stories passed down of men and women who went anyway when No Irish Need Apply, stood as Irish men and women fighting for themselves. for family and for our America.

And while it may give some people a laugh to look across the ocean and see us today in green, they’d do well to keep their snickering on the far side of the Altantic. We may not have floated down the Liffey but we hold a drop within us and we are those who will defend our heritage fiercely. Though we seem warm and quick with a joke on the surface, any who laugh at our love of either country will find we smolder like peat.

shamrockWe are the Bastards of Erin. Good and loving sons and daughters all. Others may see America as the orphanage upon whose doortstep history found us. But you won’t find an Irish adopted by a nation. We make a nation our own. We have carved a place but we’ve left room for you as well.
We are Irish-American.

Our guest post today is written by Joseph Murphy