The Paul Ryan American dream -- fleeing famine in Ireland to Vice Presidential ticket
Paul Ryan’s brother speaks out about GOP candidate’s humble Irish roots
From Irish emigrants during Ireland’s Great Famine to the Republican party’s candidate for the Vice President of the United States, Mitt Romney’s new running mate Paul Ryan’s Irish roots run deep, as his brother Tobin recently explained.
Speaking to the La Crosse Tribune, accompanied by his daughter, Mac, and sister-in-law, Dana, Tobin Ryan, the Vice Presidential candidate’s elder brother spoke about the Irish American family’s history.
Curious about their family tree, the Ryan family from Janesville, Wisconsin, organized a kind of family reunion to find out just how many Ryans there were in the area.
Tobin said, “We decided to get together in Jefferson Park to see how many of us there were.
"We ended up with something like 65 of us. In a four square block area, I think we have 45."
This is hardly surprising in Janesville, a town of 65,000 people, which is dominated by Ryans, Fitzgeralds, and Cullens, known as the “Irish mafia”.
Happily Tobin and the Ryans have been able to discover their own roots dating back to the Famine. The actual year was 1851.
He continued, “It goes back five generations to the potato famine.”
"James Ryan came over and settled in Rock County."
The elder Ryan brother went on to explain that their family most likely hail from County Tipperary, but there is a possibility they hail from Kilkenny.
What they are certain of is that James Ryan arrived to the United States in 1851, just six years after the Great Famine in Ireland began, in search of the American dream.
It certainly seems that the Ryan clan achieved James’ goal.
By the mid 1880s they had established what is now a national construction company called Ryan Inc. Back then it functioned as an excavation company.
James’ son Patrick had three sons, including Stan. Stan’s son Paul was the Vice Presidential candidate’s father, Patrick.
However Patrick, like his son Paul, was not involved in the family business. Instead, they both entered into the legal profession.
Tobin explained, “My grandfather, Stan, was appointed by President Calvin Coolidge as a federal prosecutor for Wisconsin in the 1920s. Our father was an attorney."
After the Ryan family’s recent examination of the Ryans of Janesville’s family tree, Tobin believes most of the Ryans in the area are related.
He said, “Concrete (Bill) Ryan, his son Terry Ryan of the Minnesota Twins and all the rest are somehow related.”
Like the rest of the Ryans, the Vice Presidential candidate has stayed close to home in his predominantly Irish American town of Janesville. Ryan now lives just down the block from where he grew up in their impressive six-bedroom, eight-bathroom home.
Ryan was honored by the American Ireland Fund last March and according to the Irish Times he told how the Ryans settled in Wisconsin in the mid-19th century because it looked like Ireland, without realising how bitterly cold the winters would be.
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