Irish Culture in the United States

In the United States, many use Saint Patrick's Day as an opportunity to celebrate the Irish contributions to American culture.

Many people agree that one of the strengths of the United States is its diversity. When people move to the United States, they bring along their best traditions. In March, we celebrate one particular group of immigrants to the United States: the Irish!  What are some ways people can stay in touch with their culture?


One of the strongest distinctions of a culture is its food. A country’s cuisine is reflective of the plants and animals in the area, and recipes are often passed down through generations. Shepherd’s Pie is a meat pie with mashed potato topping that is traditionally served in Ireland. Irish Americans might enjoy this dish to feel connected to their roots.


Did you know that the United States has no official language? When immigrants move to the US, they can choose to learn English, but not all do. English is spoken in Ireland today, but when most immigrants came in the past, they spoke a language called Gaelic. Some Gaelic words, such as dude, mutt, and holler are still used in the United States today! On Saint Patrick’s Day, you might hear the phrase, “Erin go bragh” which means “Ireland forever”!


Have you ever seen a picture of Ireland’s countryside? It is very lush and green. Well, when Irish immigrants were looking for a home in the United States, they chose to settle in areas that are also lush and green! For many, this ended up being in the Appalachian Mountains. When that wasn’t an option, some chose to name their cities after their hometown. Dublin is the capital city of Ireland, and there are eleven cities named Dublin in the USA!


One of the most fun ways to celebrate a culture is through festivals. Sometimes these are religiously connected, such as this month’s Irish holiday: Saint Patrick’s Day. Today, Saint Patrick’s Day in the United States is less about Saint Patrick, and more about Irish culture. Parades are held, traditional meals are eaten, dances are danced, and the Irish colors can be found all over.

What Do You Think? What is your culture? How do you honor it?
Photo Credit: DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen