His mother, Miriam Jillick was Scottish and Irish Catholic, whose folks came over around the time of the Great Famine from Ireland and Scotland.
For much of his early life, Salinger thought his mother was Jewish, and it was not until after his bar mitzvah that he learned the truth.
Salinger was deeply influenced by his mother and disliked his father, Solomon Salinger, who was a meat importer. The young author soon gave up meat, perhaps as a slap at him, and refused to attend his funeral.
The second great influence was his lost love Oona O'Neill, daughter of the great Irish playwright Eugene O'Neill. Salinger began his retreat into a private world after she dumped him for Charlie Chaplin.