As Ireland, America, and the world gear up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, POTUS Joe Biden is expected to officially launch Irish-American Heritage Month 2021, this March 1.
Editor's Note: President Biden has officially issued his Proclamation on Irish-American Heritage Month, 2021 - read more here.
Due to the fact that the United States President Joe Biden, is the most Irish president to reside in the White House since John F. Kennedy's tragic death this March's Irish-American Heritage Month is just that little bit more special than usual. Today, March 1, Biden will officially launch the month-long celebration and remembrance with an official letter from the White House.
History of Irish-American Heritage Month
In 1991 the United States Congress designated March as Irish-American Heritage Month and decreed that every year the president issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion.
Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers who served in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948.
Here are some incredible facts about the Irish and Irish American presence in the United States today, as provided by the US Census Bureau:
- 30.4 million or 9.2% of U.S. residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2019.
- The number of foreign-born U.S. residents who reported Ireland as their birthplace, in 2019, was 111,886
- 438,350 people living in Cook County, Ill claimed Irish ancestry in 2019, the largest number of any county in the nation.
Celebrate everything Irish this March with IrishCentral's global community.
Joe Biden's Irish roots
President Joe Biden is evidently proud of his Irish roots - from his quoting of Irish poetry and literature to his often Irish turn of phrase and verbal intonation. However, back when he was in the White House in 2016, Ancestry.com also documented the former vice president and proud Irish American’s emotional visit to his ancestral home as well as researching his strong Irish roots.
During his stay, he praised the true Irish welcome he had received and reflected on the lessons his Irish roots had afforded him.
Biden’s great-grandfather, James Finnegan, emigrated from County Louth as a child, in 1850. All eight of his great-great-grandparents on his mother’s side were born in Ireland during, the first half of the 19th century. On his father’s side, two great-grandparents were also born in Ireland. Essentially that makes him five-eighths Irish.
What’s clear is that his visit to Ireland, his ancestral home clearly touched the former vice president of the United States.
This year, in unsettling times, we embrace Irish-American Heritage Month and the special bond that continues between the Irish and the United States.