Why Are Irish Americans So Captivated By Ireland?

Many Irish Americans feel a deep, spiritual connection to Ireland, my homeland and the birthplace of our ancestors.  This affinity intrigues me.

What amazes me most is that many American’s ancestors left Ireland because of dire poverty and starvation. Yet despite the difficulties of their lives in Ireland, they brought a great love of their homeland with them to the United States.  I think there are few groups of immigrants so deeply linked to their homeland by nostalgic memories.  This spiritual, mystical connection has been passed down through the generations.

In my twenty something years living in the US, many American friends have recounted fond memories of their Irish grandparents or great-grandparents.  They attribute their great admiration to a warmth, wit, turn-of-phrase, or generally pleasant outlook on life.

In November 2012 I featured a guest post on the topic of Celtic Religion.  It generated some wonderful, thought-provoking comments.  One reader asked:


“What do you think it is that all of us of Irish descent, many of

whom have never been there or are now generations from our

ancestors who left the old country, are so attracted to?”

-Question By Spencer


This question generated some very interesting responses.  So interesting, I thought they deserved a blog post all of their own.  Here are some responses from other readers:


“It not an attraction, it’s an anchor in a spinning universe. And it matters little that some of the ‘stuff’ is twee beyond words (little people). Some of the stuff downright physically painful( Irish dance). Some crazy. But it is mostly genius, loyal and ancient, all with grit and gumption. And part of you.”

– Response By Vince

“After visiting Ireland in 2011, I would have to agree with you on it being an anchor, Vince. It’s an anchor that has a constant pull on me and I really want to return. It also haunts everything I do and enjoy!”

– Response by Chris

“My Grandad- whose Dad was Irish- was my absolute favorite person in the world. Since he passed away, everything Irish has taken his place in my heart as #1. So basically a love of our relatives, of our families, and a desire to know more about who we are and where we come from is what I think attracts us most.”

– Response By Aimee

I believe part of the attraction is an instinctual desire to honor all of God’s creation. After so much time of modern human disrespect and delusions of controlling the Mother Earth and her inhabitants that balance is longed for. We have ventured so far from what feeds us both physically and spiritually.”

– Response By Penny

A big thank you to everyone for their wonderful responses.  A special thank you to Vince for his insightful comment and for coining such a magnificent phrase, when he declared Ireland to be “our anchor in a spinning universe”.

And so today I am asking you to join in this conversation and tell us why Ireland is your “anchor in a spinning universe”. Feel free to add your two cents worth in the comments below.  I’m looking forward to your answers.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)



Irish American Mom


  1. My Mom is from Ireland and she instilled in my brother and me a strong love for the country she emigrated from – the music, dancing, etc. Her entire family stayed behind in Ireland so we visited most summers throughout our youth and that really strengthened the connection and allowed us to create great memories there. It’s hard to explain but I feel “at home” whenever I go back – even now as an adult!

    • Colleen – I hope I can keep the connection to Ireland as strong for my kids, as your mom did for you. My kids are already looking forward to their next trip. So happy to hear you feel “at home” in Ireland.
      Best wishes,

  2. Hi Mairead, I had a long post ready to go but changed my mind as you know how i think. Ireland lies as a kitchen chair in your mother’s house. The door is always open though we sons and daughters have traveled the four corners of the world. Occasionally, we send a letter, and hopefully set a time for a visit.

    • Brian – I love the image of Ireland as the kitchen chair in your mother’s house. The door is truly always open, and every son and daughter of Ireland is always welcome, no matter how far back their ancestry may go.
      All the best,

  3. I live in Argentina, a country where most people descend from Spanish and Italian inmigrants. When I found out I had Irish ancestor, I felt special and became interested in everything Irish. And that made my love for the country grow. I hope to able to visit Ireland some time.

    And I don’t know if you are aware, but there is this thing called The Gathering during this year, where people with Irish ancestors is invited to go to Ireland: http://www.thegatheringireland.com/

    • Mariana – When I was home in Ireland a few years ago I watched a documentary about the Irish diaspora in Argentine. I had not realized until then there are so many people of Irish descent in your country. I was amazed to learn that Argentina’s Irish community is the fifth largest worldwide. I hope someday you get to see Ireland.
      I hope to visit Ireland this summer during The Gathering. I hope many people of Irish descent will take the opportunity to see my homeland. Thanks so much for stopping by and for adding to the discussion.
      Best wishes,

  4. My grandma’s parents moved here from Ireland.She is the reason I have a fondness for the country.i remember Irish blessings on the walls of her home.she loved limericks,shamrocks and also had a green thumb . I remember her teaching me how to pull weeds.
    I named my daughter Maeve because my gram loved Maeve Binchy books. I often wonder if Irish people would find this strange!

    • I don’t think anyone in Ireland would think it strange to name your daughter Maeve because your granny loved Maeve Binchy books. I think it is a lovely reason to choose a name you feel connected to, and that has special meaning for you.
      Many Irish people love to garden, and pulling weeds is a well-honed skill in Ireland. They grow extra fast with all that Irish rain. I can just see your granny teaching you the details of how to pull them up, root and all.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely comment.
      Best wishes,

  5. STEVEN HASH says:

    i was raised in SOUTHERN INDIANA , USA.

    • Dear Steven – Isn’t it amazing how your ancestral heritage is drawing you to the British Isles, and especially Ireland and Scotland? I hope someday you get to visit these countries, and discover for yourself the beauty of the scenery and the warm welcome of the people. I live in Kentucky, not far from you in Indiana. I really like it here, but no matter how long I spend here, Ireland will always be my spiritual home. I wonder if my children will feel the same connection.
      Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.

  6. There was a thing in the telly a few years ago where they did up a 1840’s C of I derelict . Since they are all the same design it’s hard to know if that one is the one, but it certainly looks like it from it’s site.

    • Vince – That picture is of the Old Church of Ireland in Dunlewey, near the Poison Glen in Donegal. My husband took that shot the last time he was home. It probably looks very like the old ruin that was done up for the TV program you mentioned. My husband has a dream. If we were a little wealthier (actually a lot wealthier), he would love to renovate an old castle or “Big House” in Ireland. I think this one will have to stay on his wish list, unless we win the lotto.
      All the best,

  7. Erika Cooper says:

    I become a lover of Ireland in a interesting way. I watched PS I love you with Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler( of course fell in love with him lol) I was at a point in my life were I wasn’t feeling great about my marriage and life and my older daughter had moved out. I started watching this movie over and over and yet it is a sad movie and Gerard not really being Irish gave me some sense of I liked the way they viewed life then when the scenery came on I was taken away by it. So I started wanting to know everything about Ireland history places religion legends all I could learn. I was 38 at the time. I turned 39 and felt what have I done for me. I was a mom at 20 and a daughter and a wife 3 times. I felt 40 coming and at 39 I decided to do something crazy I got my first tattoo of a Celtic shamrock and it says love, hope and faith. You have to understand im not full Irish I think I have ancestry to there but still doing research and I was raised Jewish in religion all my life so a tattoo was taboo my jewish mother got over it lol. So I got the tat and I love it it has meaning to me. I still felt I needed something more so in 2010 I got my passport for the first time and I booked a flight to Dublin I went by myself out of the country for the first time ever and stayed for 5 days. I saw the cliffs and I walked through little towns saw museums enjoyed the temple bar my fav place to drink and I just fell in love with Ireland and found myself because of it. I have such a draw to it I got another tat on my back of the claddah ring. (I swear I’m not going to cover myself) I came home and felt like I left part of myself there. So in 2011 I went back and took my husband so he could share in my love of Ireland he enjoyed it but didn’t grasp it like I did and he has more Irish in him. Ireland now calls to me so I do alot that is Irish and traditional my mom has enjoyed the things I’ve taught her and showed her and my girls love now that I’m cooking some Irish dishes. I got the call to go to Ireland again and I went sept 2012 I took my 21 year old daughter we had the best time and she understood my love of it too. Its amazing to me how I didn’t grow up with anything Irish nor did I ever hear about Ireland and now it’s part of me were I feel it call to me theres lots of other reasons it calls but all I know is it is part of me and I hope to do it again this year. Just wanted to share my story.

    • Erika – Thank you so much for sharing your story and your love for Ireland. I always enjoy hearing stories where people feel right at home in Ireland, and experience an amazing spiritual connection with my homeland. I hope you get the chance to visit Ireland many, many more times, and enjoy it more and more each time. Best wishes,

  8. Shawn Marie Durkan says:

    I grew up sitting down to tea with my grandmother who came from Ireland. I loved listening to her stories of the Old Country. I longed to go to Ireland and never thought I could. My grandmother passed away in 2000 at the age of 99. It was then that I vowed I would visit her country and in 2005, at the age of 30, I finally made my first visit to Ireland by myself. I cried when I arrived at the airport. I felt like I was “coming home”. I’ve been to Ireland several times since then and have taken my kids. I am currently in the process of getting Irish citizenship and want to move there. Everyone thinks I am crazy, but I feel like I have been separated from my true land and can’t wait to go back. Is it really crazy that I want to move there, when everyone else wants to move here?

    • Shawn – It sounds like your grandmother left an indelible mark on your memory, perhaps even the Irish part of your subconscious. I think that may be why you feel like your are “coming home” every time you visit Ireland. I too long for my trips home to Ireland. There I seem to recharge my batteries. I understand how you might want to move to Ireland. The Irish way of living and our outlook on life is different to that of Americans. I think you grow to appreciate it more once you have been there and experienced it. For me the big issue with moving back to Ireland is an economic one. We have to make a living, and right now we can best do that here in America. I pray you get to live in Ireland someday – here’s hoping all your dreams come true.
      All the best,

  9. Sammantha Riley says:

    I completely relate to Ireland being an anchor. I couldn’t even tell you which generation of my ancestors came from Ireland to the States, but I know that something about the mystical isle I have yet to visit draws me like a magnet. I just read your post on your Americanization process, and learned that I have some of the same instincts that your Irish upbringing has afforded you. I always decline the first offer of drink upon making a call, and sorely regret it when another is never given; and I almost exclusively drink black tea with milk (though I substitute honey for sugar, like any good Californian would). There is something in the blood of an Irish descendant that can never be squashed: a fighter’s heart; a giving spirit; a love of green hills and blue sea; and knowing that laughter and a good meal can cure nearly anything. Plus, I think we all know deep down that Ireland would be ready to welcome any of us home, should we choose to go. I certainly hope that I get the chance to live in Ireland and raise a family there. I have long said that it would take a really great man with an even greater name to make me give up my own, as it is the anchor of “home” I hold on to tightest.

  10. Beverley Davidson says:

    I read your blog with great interest I find it so intriguing that so many of our people left this beautiful land and never did get the chance to return even just to see it for a last time. I am a photographer and am at present having some of my work displayed in a new building beside the new Titanic Exhibition Center it’s called the Dock a meeting place for many those who wish to learn more of Ireland the titanic etc and those who wish to chat have a coffee and maybe ask for prayer for some problems or ailments. This will be my first exhibition. I am also hoping to sell my work to those who have roots here in Ireland and have never been but would like something of our country and its myths and magic in their home. I wonder do you know of a way of advertising in your country not so much big commercial but just letting people know, even if I can research some information or help with tourism I will be more than happy. I hope you don’t mind me making contact but being from Ireland it’s what we do we make friends we help people we welcome new friends to our land. My Facebook page is beverley davidson Stitt if you would like yo see my pictures as I say my photography is under construction. I would be interested in your critic of them.
    I hope you enjoy our lovely land and friendly people. Beverley

    • Dear Beverly – Thank you so much for stopping by my site and for introducing us to your wonderful work. I look forward to seeing your photos when your website is completed. I did a quick search on google and found some of your photos. Your landscape shots are amazing.
      Wishing you every success with your exhibition and work.
      Best wishes,

  11. STEVEN HASH says:

    IT’S HOME !

  12. beverley davidson says:

    Hi Mairead
    Thank you for your lovely comments I really do appreciate them. I am very much enjoying reading your blog and your recipe section. This week my exhibition of my pictures will finally be a reality and by the weekend I should have my website up and running. I am glad you enjoyed looking at my work, I have liked you on facebook so I will enjoy getting your latest writings.
    best wishes

  13. Camille says:

    Good Afternoon –
    I recently (as in just about 2 weeks ago) spent 10 days in Ireland with 40 other folks from my church back here in the states – Houston, Texas. I have always wanted to visit Ireland as my grandparents were from Ireland. I took my daughter along for the trip. I fell in love with Ireland and didn’t want to leave – I am planning another trip – the visit so changed me that I think about Ireland everyday. The warmth of heart and home is in everyone you meet there. There are no strangers in Ireland – everyone is a friend! I always had Irish music, foods, and books around me, and now they have an even deeper meaning.

    • Camille – It is so nice to hear you had a wonderful time in Ireland, and that you personally experienced the warm welcome of Ireland. I hope you make it back again, someday very soon.
      All the best,

  14. Beverley davidson says:

    I noticed you had visited Ireland recently. Did you enjoy your trip, were did you visit.
    Were was your special place. I hope you had fun and will come back one day. Strangely how you talk about Ireland I feel about France tho I have no connections there other than my own trips but I fully understand your passion.
    Wishing you well

    • Camille says:

      Beverly – As mentioned my grandparents were from Ireland. My father was also very passionate about Ireland, but sadly never got to visit before he passed away unexpectedly some years ago. That passion he held as well as my grandmother lives within me. I visited several places – Galway, Connemara, Killarney, Kilkenny, Glendalough, and Dublin. My very special place that had such a pull on me was Killarney. I absolutely loved it there. We stayed there 3 days and 3 days in Galway and those two places I will definitely visit again. The countryside with its lush fields of green, the sheep and cattle peacefully grazing and the lovely stone fences and homes are simply charming…..many of the homes I saw were exactly how my grandmother described them. Next time I visit Ireland I plan on staying at least 15 days, perhaps a month if I can save enough money to do that….

      Thanks for your reply and blessings to you!

      • Camille – I’m sorry to hear your father never got to visit Ireland before he passed, but by sharing his passion for Ireland with you, his love of his ancestral home lives on. Thank you so much for sharing your Irish vacation experiences with us here on this website. It is truly an honor to hear first hand of these deep seated feelings of connection which you, and many other visitors to Ireland experience.
        Best wishes, and thanks for stopping by.

        • Camille says:

          Thank you so much Mairead! That means a lot – I have been visiting your site and will continue to visit….I feel a little connection and able to hold on a bit to the spirit that is Ireland. I felt overwhelmed at times at the different places we visited, especially the HIll of Tara and Hill of Slane, along with Glendalough and Killarney. The Cliffs of Moher were exceptionally beautiful o the day we visited – apparently it had not rained in sometime and did not rain the entire time we were there – beautiful weather the entire time and I felt even more blessed. I am planning my next trip for possibly the summer of 2015. My daughter graduates 2014 and will start college and all those expenses, but 2015 will see things calm down a bit and I will be back in Ireland!

          Regards –

  15. Hi
    I am from N.ireland lived there most of my life now living in london, it does amuse me why so many people have such strong feelings towards ireland. I can relate with the countryside being one of them and the beauty of the windswept shores but not the constant rain. Your blog does remind me of the simpler things, such as the smell of a peat fire in a pub on a winters day ,drying out after more rain, the laughter of my friends and that sarcastic humour. Perhaps a nice american woman could persuade me to return :-). I know I am already tainted with my love-hate relationship of the place something which is always there but cant be explained.

    • I’m so glad my ramblings brought back some happy memories of your earlier years in Northern Ireland. I fully understand what you call your love-hate relationship with Ireland. It’s hard to explain the tug it sometimes has on our heartstrings, but our rational minds bring us back to reality when we remember the incessant rain. It’s then we ask ourselves why we feel so nostalgic about the place. Thanks so much for checking out my blog.
      Best wishes,

  16. dia duit Máiréad. I happened to come across your blog by accident. I was watching a clip of all the Irish returning home from all corners of the globe. It tugged on the heart-strings. It was so sad watching mums and dads crying and embracing their sons and daughters. I have traveled out of this country many a time. Like you said, Ireland has an innate ability to drag you home. You just miss it terribly when you are away from it. I don’t think I could even try to explain, it just does that to you. You as an Irish lady knows what I mean.

    Not because we are Irish but I firmly believe we are a fantastic bunch of people. Warm, Kind, funny, charitable, the list off attributes goes on. I hope the US has been good to you.

    As you know when you come HOME, there will always be a bed to sleep in and a stew in the pot!

    Sonas agus sláinte.


    • Thanks so much, Ruaidhrí. I’m happy to say I’ll be spending Christmas in Ireland this year, my first time in over twenty years. My kids are very excited about their first Irish Christmas. Ireland will always draw on my heart strings, and I’m glad to say she has pulled me home this year.
      Nollag shona duit,

  17. Hi, I came across your blog whilst researching Irish identity for my Sociology exam. I am a proud Irish woman and have the pleasure of living in the countryside in rural Ireland. It just warms my heart to read all your lovely message about Ireland. My grandparents would tell us stories of old Ireland and I feel blessed that I can share these tales with my own children. God bless Eire, Slainte….

    • Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog. I love rambling about my memories of Ireland. So glad you were blessed to hear stories of Ireland from days gone by. I too believe it is important to share these tales with our little ones.
      Best wishes for 2014,

  18. This is an intriguing topic for me. I grew up in Michigan. My father’s grandfather emigrated to America from Carrick-on-Suir in 1887, but there wasn’t too terribly much nostalgia for Ireland in my home. But I had it for some reason. So much so I went to Dublin for grad school and lived in a bedsit in Clontarf for two years. Great times! But I came to appreciate that today’s Irish are contemporary Europeans who often are quite different than the projections of nostalgic American-Irish would make them out to be. I have some Greek friends who say the same difference exists between Greek-Americans and contemporary European Greeks. (I’m sure our Irish American Mom could speak eloquently to this point). I recently read Jay Dolan’s excellent book “The Irish Americans”, and recognized more of my own family’s story in this. Still, both of my own children have Irish names, and I cook Irish food on all the holidays, so go figure. (I came to this blog for the recipes!)
    Best wishes,

    • Tom – I agree with you. Today’s Irish are contemporary Europeans, and I often wonder if I miss an Ireland that doesn’t exist. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Dublin and that you still feel a connection to the land of your ancestors.
      Best wishes,

  19. Jason Kirsch says:

    Well, it’s difficult to say that the Irish Americans are so spiritually connected to Ireland.
    First of all, isn’t it rare nowadays to find someone who is of 100% Irish descent? I do have lots of friends who are part Irish but they are also part Swedish, part Scottish, part French and so on.
    If they all feel such a connection to the lands from where their ancestors came then they must be loving the entire world.

  20. Yes… It is nature that keeps us tethered to what most matters. Family, love of nature, good stories, laughter, jokes, fresh air, and the determination to not let outside forces wear you down. It is in the blood, at least that is what I believe. Thousand of years are imprinted into our DNA, our cells. When we reach the end of life we will joke. ” I think I am dying and won’t make out alive. “

  21. I was just having this conversation with a friend this morning and we both remarked on how it seems to be so prevalent among those of us with shared Irish ancestry. I Googled it… and found your wonderful Blog! I love it when things like that happen.

    My mother’s family came from Ireland in the mid 1800’s.
    I have always wanted to visit. There is always an undercurrent in my day to day. My heart pines for a homeland I never knew and soil I never dug my toes into, but one day I will see it in person and on that day, my heart will finally understand why it yearned and ached all this time. When I talk to other individuals with Irish ancestry, they get what I mean. I say that to someone without Irish roots they look at me like I’m insane. I agree completely, there is something deeply encoded in the genetic material that calls and resonates and guides us. As a little girl, I used to tell my mom, “Someday, I’ll get to Ireland, take off my shoes and spin and dance and sing and laugh and cry, all at the same time.” I’m 43 now and I still feel that way.

    • Lisa – I so hope you make it to Ireland someday. It’s lovely to hear from readers who feel such a strong yearning for the land of our ancestors. Ever since I moved to America over 20 years ago, I have grown keenly aware of how Irish Americans feel such a deep connection with Ireland. I agree wholeheartedly that Americans with different cultural heritages don’t seem to feel the same link to the lands of their ancestral origins. I have no idea why this is, but I truly believe it is a significant phenomenon.
      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and checking out my recipes and ramblings.
      Best wishes,

  22. My mother and her parents were from Southern Ireland, Dad’s Mom from the North, his Dad from Trieste, It. All my life I had felt a tremendous ‘pull’ to Ireland, although in Art History I had studied Italy, France, Spain and Germany far more. In the summer of 1975, out of college, I went to Ireland. I had friends in Europe, and we met up and traveled Ireland for a couple of weeks. When I got off the plane in Dublin Airport…it was the most amazing feeling of ‘Home at last’! I thought that most of the people that I saw in the Airport were Americans…they weren’t…they were Irish nationals! Anyway, along my travels I did meet up with other Americans who would say the same thing…they felt the “pull” and they felt that they were “Home at Last”!! I have talked to other Americans, here in the USA, of other backgrounds, who have visited their family’s ancestral countries, and most have never felt what we ‘Irish-Americans’ feel towards Ireland! They do not feel the “pull” not do they feel “at home “when visiting those countries. Hard to explain, but I think that there was a play about it, several years ago, about the people who died during the Famine and in the ‘coffin ships” leaving, about their spirits leading the Irish-Americans to go back…for them. As a Catholic Christian I don’t think that I actually believe such…but it is a nice notion or explanation!? I wish that I had been going back, a lot, over the years, but life, time and money ….
    The feeling is so REAL for about ever Irish-American that I know, though, what a mystery!

    • Bobbi – I love your explanation of this pull that Irish-Americans feel towards Ireland. When I first came to America I was amazed by this mystical draw my homeland had on many Americans, whose ancestors left Irish shores hundreds of years ago. Ever since I wrote this post, many readers have confirmed this affinity for my homeland. Thanks so much for adding to our little discussion.
      Best wishes,

  23. This romantic and spiritual connection you and my many American-Irish (note I placed Amrican first) friends feel for Ireland never ceases to amaze me. I am of Italian descent and I loved visiting Italy, but the best part was going through Customs in New York and hearing the Customs Officer say “Welcome Home.” I am proud of my heritage and so are my children and grandchildren. We have a strong sense of what I call the three “Fs”
    Family, Food, Faith- all given to us by my immigrant parents. But Italy is a foreign country to which I have ties, but Iwould never want to live anywhere but America. It’s what I thank my parents for every day of my life: the courage to come to America and LEAVE the OLD COUNTRY behind. Your rapture for another country mystfies me and almost feels disoyal.

    • To many Americans of Irish descent their is a feeling of standing with one foot in the USA and one foot in Ireland. It doesn’t make us love America less, it really may make us appreciate it more…some of the most flag-waving (American flag, that is) patriotic Americans that I know are…American-Irish people! A passionate love of both! A comparison could be: do you love your mother most…or your father?? Or, do you love your first child more that your second child? Cuban Americans love the USA and also love the Cuba of their grandparents or great-grandparents, from the stories that they are told. It gives one a sense of “roots” why families do certain things, eat certain foods, celebrate certain holidays. There is a certain ‘mystical connection’ to Ireland that most of that descent ( in America ) do feel to Ireland, in most…quite strongly. To love one does not mean that we love the other less, and perhaps that is the mystery of it all !

    • Lydia – I like how you say “American-Irish” people. Having been born in Ireland, I am going to stick with calling myself “Irish-American”, but I suppose my children and in future years my grandchildren will be “American-Irish”. I understand your amazement at how Americans of Irish descent seem so enraptured by Ireland, and to others this may definitely seem disloyal. I like how Bobbi explains that in loving Ireland, we do not love America less. Thanks so much for adding to this conversation. Each comment helps validate this “mystical connection” some Americans feel for Ireland. It is good to hear you too have observed it. Perhaps, we may never succeed in truly explaining it.
      All the best,

  24. Kathleen says:

    I feel this sudden new gravitational pull that I can’t explain towards Ireland. I am Canadian, with ancestral Irish background. Yet, I have never been.
    The only way to describe it is a spiritual pull. Guess I’ll have to start planning the trip!

    • Kathleen – Sounds like you’re experiencing that unexplained pull towards Ireland many North Americans have felt before. I agree completely with you – it can only be described as a spiritual pull.
      I truly hope you make it to Ireland some day.
      Best wishes and thanks so much for checking out my ramblings.

  25. I know this might sound funny, but I’m Irish, born here and lived here all my life. When I go to the US I feel what you guys feel about Ireland.

    When I go to Boston I feel like I am home.

    I have traveled a lot, and liked a lot of places Ive been. I’ve never felt at home anywhere other than Ireland until I got to the states.

    • Hi Lisa – I don’t think that feeling of coming home you get when you visit the US, especially the Boston area, is one bit funny. It’s fully understandable. So many people in New England have Irish heritage I think many of our old Irish ways have been transferred to the North eastern parts of America. I have lived in America for over twenty years and during my time in the US I have always been made feel welcome and at home.
      Hope you get to visit the US again soon.
      All the best,

  26. Katie Hagan says:

    Ireland has always drawn me. I have always felt foreign in my native california. My father’s family consists of many Irish and Irish Americans. My Hagan came from Ulster to Maryland in the 1640s. The Hagans are cousins to the O’neils, the last kings of Ulster. Once in America the hagans married only other Irish immigrants for 300 yrs up to my Mexican Mother. My Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Zacheriah Rhiney was an Irish immigrant school teacher In Elizabeth town KY. He was President Lincoln’s first school teacher. He taught Lincoln how to read. I am Here today because of the work and love of generations of Irish forced off their land. Some by the English, or by poverty, some like my grandmother’s Kinsella’s during the famine. I have always carried a bewildering pang and yearning for home when I’d see Pictures of Ireland as a child. I have no grandparents or any relatives actually born in Ireland to pass down anything. Now that I have learned more abut my heritage, I know why I feel the pang in my heart to be back in Ireland.. When I went to Ireland in 2001 I was 21. I told myself not to be disappointed if it wasnt all I’d built it upto be. Irish boys called me “Spanish girl” in the streets which amazed me, as I am very fair w dark hair and in the states people are shocked to find out Im half Mexican. People didnt speak to me in gaelic like they did to my blonde father when he visited, but nonetheless I was over come with the feeling I had finally come home. I experienced a deep sense of belonging to the land I have never felt anywhere in my life. It was very profound on all levels and more magical than I could have imagined. I almost stayed and put down roots, but I felt as Im sure many of my ancestors did, and many young Irish feel now, that there was more work to be done out in the world. I promised I would be back to retire when I was ready. If I never make it I have asked my loved ones to take my ashes back where they belong. Home. In Ireland. Im sure it is a strange thing for a native Irish person to try to understand. We may have spent a couple hundred yrs in America, but we spent a few thousand in Ireland. If you think on it, the pull shouldnt be that surprising. An anchor? Maybe. Or just home. There may be something in our genetics, it is quite the phenomenom.

    • Hi Katie – Thank you so much for your insightful and thoughtful response to this question which often causes me to ponder. When I first came to the US from Ireland I could not understood this connection to Ireland many Irish Americans experience. It truly is a deep rooted soulful pull to our homeland. But once I had lived in America for at least a decade, my interest and understanding grew and grew. So many Americans have talked to me about their yearnings to see Ireland I became quite intrigued by this phenomenon. Your beautiful story sheds even further light on this enigma. I like how you say it may be something in our genetics, because no matter how long I may spend in America, I am always homesick for Ireland.
      All the best, and thanks so much for joining in this conversation.

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