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It’s no secret that those of us with Irish heritage are extremely proud of our past. The people of Ireland once felt a little disconnected from their roots, but thanks to the Gaelic Revival in Ireland and America, all things Irish have experienced a significant resurgence.
And it’s a great thing, but it’s up to us to continue in the tradition. Take a look at these five ways to celebrate Irish culture, and help pass down the best parts of your heritage to upcoming generations.
Listen to Irish music
The instruments used in classic Irish music—harps, flutes, horns and more—have created a distinct genre of music that is instantly recognizable. Whether sung in English or as Gaeilge, Irish music can be upbeat and celebratory, as well as melancholic and beautiful.
Fordham University’s WFUV broadcasts a weekly Irish music show, Ceol na nGael (“Music of the Irish”) every Sunday afternoon. The show features a wide variety of Irish music, from various periods throughout Irish history. The show also features Irish community news, Irish sports, and news reports from Dublin.
Play Irish sports
Two classic Irish sports—Gaelic Football and Hurling—were spread during the Gaelic Revival thanks to the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Both are still played throughout all of Ireland, and can be very exciting to watch. Make sure to check out these Gaelic Football and Hurling highlights via YouTube!
But you don’t just need to be in Ireland to play! There are many GAA clubs in America—New York, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia all have vibrant Irish sports scenes. There are even organizations as far west as California and as far north as Washington state.
Learning Irish can be a really cool way to get in touch with your roots. And once you do, you’ll be surprised how many places you find an Irish word or phrase. There were also many great novels, short stories and poetry published in Irish during the Gaelic Revival—plus, who wouldn’t be impressed if you could belt out a few tunes in the Irish language?
Look into your local community to see if there are any clubs or organizations that can help you learn. If not, the internet is wonderful place—many sources are available with a quick Google search.
Research your Irish ancestors
This one is obvious—if you don’t know anything about your Irish ancestors, you don’t know anything about your roots! Irish immigrants actually have a very diverse set of stories, so make sure you look into the first generation if your family immigrated to the United States.
But whether your family came to America during the Potato Famine, the Gaelic Revival, or never even left Ireland, you absolutely must look through some Irish genealogy records to see traces of them in their home country. You will delve deeper into your generational history, and may even be able to discover some long-lost distant family connections.
Irish genealogy can be tricky though, so make sure you’re well briefed on how best to research your Irish ancestors.
Travel to Ireland
No matter where you’re from, there’s nothing like traveling back to the original country of your ancestors to experience it firsthand. Between friendly locals, breathtaking scenery and all the cultural immersion you’re looking for, there’s simply nothing like it.
And of course, if you’ve been tackling any of the previous four suggestions, you’ll have an even greater connection to this wonderful isle.
For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from Findmypast click here.