Irish Culture Background

Ireland is a rather cultural place. The most ancient stories from the country are partly about mythological personages that appear to have been known as deities, whom they referred to as Tuatha De Danann. They are also partly about the chivalry of some heroes and heroines, who had Cuchulain as their central figure (Hull, 1931). Emain Macha’ Ulster was the group’s chief center. Within the district are indications of burial-places, chariot-paths and forts. The neighborhood here still has old traditions and names that are correspondent to the heroes, as they appear in writing on the 10 thcentury and 11th century manuscripts. Disputes have erupted regarding the period when the five provinces were formed. There is an ancient tradition that states that the first segmentation took place during the Firbolg era. The Firbolg were, one among the pre-Gaelic Ireland people. Later on, the Clann Mileadh, also known as the Milesians, confirmed the statement. They were the final invaders of olden Ireland. The division showed that Ireland comprised Ulster, Connacht, Leinster as well Munster, which had two divisions.

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After that came James 1’s throne. James I’s throne came to be under what appeared to be favorable backing by Ireland. The Stuarts’ descent from Fergus Mor, a prince of Ireland who introduced the Dalriada, Argyllshirre, a Scottish colony in the 6th century, made the people of Ireland feel personally connected to the kings of Stuart origin. The connection was portrayed in deeds of passionate loyalty many times when Charles I was struggling with the Parliament. The loyalty was also shown by the way the Irish faithfully stuck to the Elderly Pretender throughout his retirement in St. Germain, as well as the way they hopefully waited for the fresh and young Pretender to return (Hull, 2015). During the seventeen years when Ireland had its independent Parliament, the country undoubtedly flourished in both industry and trade. There was increase in rent, and the cost of property rose by two times and in some areas, tripled. There was also a 60% rise in population from 1780 to 1800. In 1805, Newenham computed the rise in tillage that came after Foster’s Act; it was above six times more than the amount that had been collected in 1785. The manufacturers of cotton and woolen textiles, and the linen manufacturers continued to grow steadily. There was growth in provision trade, and distilling and brewing were rebuilt (Hull, 2015). There was also advancement in old glass manufacturing.

In 1832, there were about nine thousand agricultural-related offenses in Ireland. Most of the crimes took place in Leinster, which was the tithe battle’s chief centre. Out of these, there were 200 murders. The advancement in these dreadful situations will always be linked to Thomas Drummond. He was from Scotland, and in 1835, he became Lord Morpeth’s Under-Secretary. Thomas resolutely set himself to fairly implement the law for all classes. There had been chronic famines, but they were never as bad as those between 1846 and 1847. There was a potato disease outbreak throughout the west side of the Continent. The disease also spread slightly in some parts of Scotland and England.

Multiple factors led to the rule of Dominion Home making an offer to Ireland. There was a new conception about England’s position towards the big States overseas, brought together under one king within the Empire of Britain. The conception came up during Joseph Chamberlain’s era. Gradually, the people of Britain began to realize that the powerful and growing States did not qualify to be permanently seen as Dependencies under a superior power. The States must grow into Self-governing Dominions, tied together within a mutually beneficial relationship and brought together by the mutual advantage they had on each other as well as to the ancient country (Hull, 2015). In 1921, December 6, a treaty was signed, which made Ireland, as Collins opined, a completely constituted State. “The treaty gave us freedom, which we had fought for, freedom from the domination and interference by Britain. We acquired the constitutional position of Canada. The position grants us equality and freedom, and we have the liberty to exploit that status. As a matter of fact, England no longer claims the freedom to rule over Ireland, and to prove this, she has withdrawn her forces. This evacuation and the security by the Treaty mean that Britain is no longer in charge of Ireland.”

Irish Culture in the United States

The Irish people who moved to America also went through some problems. Just like in any other city developing in population and wealth, the poor people’s accommodation is sacrificed every year to meet the increasing luxury and needs of the wealthy. There has been an increase in the grand mansions and spacious streets, and the places where the working society had as their economical residence continue to be taken away. This is similar to the way the laborers and artisans in London are forced to evacuate their homes in order for the city to be improved, while a large railway terminus or a huge thoroughfare (Maguire and Hardee, 1964) occupies their alleys and streets. We need to agree that, in a few cities in America; certainly, not in all or almost all of them, the numbers of Irish elements in police records and before lesser tribunals are unenviable. In addition, there are more than needed committals in those cities, to be proportionate to the Irish numerical strength… The fatal offense; the furtive poisonings, the intentional killings, the deep-built frauds, the craftily-masked duplicity, the dark wickedness, the spider-like planning to destroy the innocent victim, are rare among Irish people. The common crimes recorded about them in newspapers are riots, personal violent crimes of passion, rows, and turbulence. Nine tenths of these crimes against the community’s order and peace, and which are deeply biased in the minds of the public, on the country, race, and the perpetrators, can be attributed to drinking.

The people of Ireland have lived in the U.S. for many centuries. They therefore have a better chance than other tribes to be assimilated into American life. With each passing generation, there has been better incorporation of the Irish people into the main culture. During the 1700s, there was a relative increase in the Protestants from Ireland, and they were easily assimilated and accepted socially. Nonetheless, the situation was not that easy for the numerous Catholics from Ireland, who migrated into the U.S. during the decades after the famines. They had a harder time uniting with the bigger group (Irish-Americans – History, Irish emigration, Immigration until the famine years). There were negative stereotypes that came from the people of England; they characterized the people of Ireland as drunken, pugnacious semi-savages. The stereotypes were quite common, and they lasted throughout the 1800s. The people of Ireland had to work for long to earn little pay. America needed the cheap labor in their growing cities, to construct such infrastructure as roads, canals, railroads, and bridges. They were also employed in the quarrying and mining industries. During the strong economic period, the Irish people were welcomed to America. However, when it grew weaker, such us in the mid years of the 1850s, there was social unrest, which led to difficulty in immigration into America. This is because the Americans claimed that the Irish people were taking their jobs. Considering that they had not been completely endorsed, the people of Ireland were highly discriminated against.

There were many cartoons on the media that portrayed the Irish people as ugly, small and simian, and they were armed with alcohol. The terms “shanty Irish,” “paddy-wagons” and “shenanigans,” were commonly used to describe them. The Catholics from Ireland still had an advantage, in spite of the impact of the offensive cartoons and their ignorance and poverty. They came in large numbers and most of them could not speak English. In addition, their culture (Western European) had some similarities with that of America. In fact, the people of Ireland had never been a high portion of the American immigrants. In the 1840s, they took 45.6% of the overall number of U.S. immigrants and in the 1850s; they took 35.2% (Kenny, 2014). Following the closure of Castle Garden1890, the Irish and other people migrating to America were registered through a momentary Barge Office. In 1892, January 1, the reception center in Ellis Island opened. The first passenger to be processed was Annie Moore, who was a 15-year-old immigrant from Co Cork. After her, there were over 12 million people within the subsequent 62 years. At that time, there had been a change of attitude towards Irish people (Irish immigration to America: how and where Irish immigrants to America arrived 1846 to the early 20th century). It was probably during the great Civil War that things changed; there were so many Irish people who fully took part, in fact, they were the majority, with at least 40 Union regiments. For this reason, the Irish were greatly respected by the American people. In addition, the second and third generation American-based Irish people had climbed the managerial and social hierarchy from their former laboring work. Some even managed to join professions.

Currently, it is quite difficult to define the identity of the Irish-American race clearly, especially for younger generations (Irish-Americans – History, Irish emigration, Immigration until the famine years). The ethnic lines have blurred, mainly due to intermarriage. The immigration process is also advanced due to the large migration rates in recent years, by the Irish people from their tribal enclaves within the cities into the rural areas and suburbs. The increased participation in multicultural public education system and a decrease in the attendance rates in the parochial school system have also contributed to the change. The other major contributor is the great reduction of Irish immigrants into America, due to the laws on immigration that disfavor Europeans. Currently, with 38,760,000 people in the U.S. claiming to have Irish ancestry (as per the census in 1990), the American society attributes some connotations, both negative and positive, to these people. Some of the immigrants and their ancestors are still proud of their Irish origin. However, there are some groups that think of the Irish people as less intellectually advanced, less cultured and more radical; politically. They are also said to be more prejudiced than other groups. There are many polls, however, that show that the Catholics from Ireland are highly liberal and educated.

Relation to Three Cultures

Those that still think of the message by Martin Luther King Jr. about equality and social justice for all, is effectively meant only for those of his race that probably know nothing regarding John Echohawk. He belongs to the tribe of Pawnee, and the Rights of Native American’s Fund. He practiced as a political and legal advocate for over thirty years, under Martin Luther’s influence (MLK legacy and Native Americans). “This doctrine of sovereignty of tribes was captivating to us, and we had a lot of hope in the enforcement of this lawful right during the 1960s’ political climate,” said Echohawk. “It was contentious to pursue, since the policy of the national government regarding Indian ethnic groups then was one which entailed ending our tribes, eliminating the relationship we had with the national government, and putting us under the jurisdiction of the state — with no regard to our will, without our approval.” Mexican-American Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), a prominent labor organizer and union leader, had been hardened from working as an alien laborer. He instituted the National Association of Farm Workers in 1962. Cesar’s union joined the Organizing Committee of Agricultural Workers during the first strike it organized against the Californian grape growers. The organizations then conjoined as a single entity named United Farm Workers. Emphasizing on nonviolent ways, Cesar used hunger-strikes, boycotts, and marches to draw attention to commonly espoused issues (Cesar Chavez – Facts & Summary). In spite of the disagreements with Teamsters union, along with legal barriers, Cesar managed to achieve better payments and also better the farm workers’ condition in Texas, Florida, California and Arizona. Therefore, these three are connected to the Irish-American people to some extent.


“Cesar Chavez – Facts & Summary –” — American & World History. Web. 31 Oct 2016. .

Eleanor, Hull. A History of Ireland and Her People. Vol. 1. London: 1931. Print.

Eleanor, Hull. A History of Ireland and Her People. Vol. 2. London: 2015. Print.

“Irish-Americans – History, Irish emigration, Immigration until the famine years.” World Culture Encyclopedia. Web. 16 Oct 2016. .

“Irish immigration to America: how and where Irish immigrants to America arrived 1846 to the early 20th century.” Free Irish Genealogy Advice, Tools and Resources. Web. 16 Oct 2016.

Kenny, Kevin. The American Irish: A History. Routledge, 2014. Print.

Maguire, John Francis and William Joseph Hardee. He Irish in America. Vol. 34. New York: Arno, 1969. Print.

“MLK legacy and Native Americans.” AMERICAN INDIAN SOURCE. Web. 30 Oct 2016. .

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