Ireland and America have close ties, no doubt about it! Check out these interesting facts about the Irish in America ahead of the 4th of July.
An Irishman was the first of Christopher Columbus’ crew to step on American soil
There were several Irishmen in Christopher Columbus’ crew. But the one who stands out most is Patrick Maguire. In 1492, Irish-born Maguire was the first crew member of Christopher Columbus’ to set foot on North American ground.
At least 15 U.S. presidents have confirmed Irish ancestry
It’s thought that over 40 percent of all American presidents have some Irish ancestry, but at least 15 of them have confirmed their Irish heritage. The most Irish presidents are Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, both of whose parents were born in Ireland.
The first American general to die in battle was Irish
Dublin-native Richard Montgomery is the first general to have been killed in battle during the American Revolutionary War. Montgomery was killed in the Battle of Quebec during the 1775 invasion of Canada.
Three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Ireland
Three of the eight foreign-born men were natives of Ireland. These Irish patriots of the American Revolution are James Smith, from Northern Ireland; George Taylor, an Irish native and a member of the Committee of Correspondence; and Matthew Thornton, an Irishman who became a member of the Continental Congress in 1776.
Irishmen helped build the White House
Not only did Irishman James Hoban design the White House and model it after an Irish building, but the White House was built by the hands of Irishmen as well. Immigrant laborers from various backgrounds as well as slaves were the chief builders of the presidential home. The presidential residence even has a twin building in Ireland - Dublin's Leinster House is officially twinned with The White House.
A blind Irishman helped compose “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Though British composer John Stafford Smith, who was born in 1750, is credited for composing "The Star-Spangled Banner,” the tune is actually based on music composed by the great Irish blind harper Turlough O'Carolan, who died over 35 years before the American Revolution. The melody is metrically identical to O Carolan’s “Bumper Squire Jones” of 1723.
An Irishman is the “father” of the Navy
John Barry, a native of Co Wexford, is known as the “Father of the American Navy.” He and his crew fought and won the final naval battle.
Are there any other links between Ireland and the US that make you especially proud this July 4th? Let us know in the comments!
* Originally published in July 2017.