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More than 100 million people claim Irish heritage

The Irish are among the most widely spread people in the world. Mass emigration in the 19th century caused by famine, mass evictions and poverty led millions of emigrants to leave Ireland in search of a better life.

More than 100 million people claim Irish heritage. Image copyright Ireland Calling

Sydney Opera House photo by Kazuhisa-Togo licenced under CC2

They headed for newly developing countries like the United States, Australia, Canada and South America.

Everywhere they went they brought their culture, their music and their indomitable spirit and optimism with them.

Statue of Liberty

But no matter how much the Irish prospered in their new lands, they never forgot the old country they left behind.

Many dreamed of returning home to Ireland but never managed to do so. Instead, they passed on their love of their home country to their children, their grandchildren and beyond.

Today, more than 100 million people are proud to claim Irish heritage.

Many who are third or fourth generation Irish, still feel a strong affinity with Ireland. It may be something they can’t fully explain but it’s undeniable and has real meaning to them.

This page is for those people – the ones who still hear Ireland Calling even though their ancestors may have left more than a hundred years ago.

Heritage verse by Ireland Calling Graphic and text copyright Ireland Calling

Ireland and America
Friends across the sea
United by common heritage,
And a love of being free.
by Ireland Calling

* * *

Here they tell their stories of what Ireland means to them.

Judith Fell. Irish Australian.
We start with Judith Fell, who’s third generation Irish and lives in Australia with her family.
Read Judith’s story here.
Dave Fleming. Irish Canadian
Dave Fleming is an Irish Canadian. He took regular holidays in Ireland as a child to visit his family.
Read Dave’s story here.
Marie Hall. Irish American
Marie Hall is an American nurse who decided to search her family history and visited Ireland for her 40th wedding anniversary.
Read Marie’s story here.
Bill Hughes
American actor, author and journalist Bill Hughes traces his DNA ancestry.
Read Bill’s story here

Interviews with relatives of Easter Rising rebels

Many of the relatives of the of rebels who took part in one of the most important events in Ireland’s history – the Easter Rising – have agreed to be interviewed to give their take on the importance of the Easter Rising and the impact that their heroic ancestor has had on their own life.

Click here to read some of the fascinating insights of the Easter Rising rebels’ relatives

This section includes interviews with relatives of:

James Connolly

Arthur Greene

Michael Mallin

Elizabeth O’Farrell

The O’Rahilly

Patrick Pearse

Stephen Pollard

Many of the interviews were conducted by Film maker Marcus Howard – the great grandnephew of Arthur Greene – as part of his Easter Rising Stories series.

More about Marcus Howard
More about the 1916 Easter Rising Stories series


American finds Irish relatives after 40 year search

What Ireland means to our readers

Where your cousins are likely to take you in Ireland

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Did you know?

An Irish schoolteacher has created a brilliant YouTube video explaining the history of Ireland in just six minutes. It’s brilliantly done and makes learning both fun and engaging for children and also adults. Find out more.

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