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.
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.
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.
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.
We start with Judith Fell, who’s third generation Irish and lives in Australia with her family.
Read Judith’s story here.
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 is an American nurse who decided to search her family history and visited Ireland for her 40th wedding anniversary.
Read Marie’s story here.
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.
This section includes interviews with relatives of:
Tell us what your Irish heritage means to you
Do you qualify to become an Irish citizen?There are three main ways for a person to qualify for Irish citizenship – through birth, through marriage or civil partnership or through naturalisation. Check if you qualify for Irish citizenship
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.
Have you heard about…Are you a Celt? Or a Gael? Viking or British? Well it might depend on where you come from in Ireland according to a new study. A genetic map has been created by researchers that reveals the impact of immigration, invasion and plantation throughout Irish history. Find out more.
What about this…The Incredible life of Irish American Molly Brown saw her labelled ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ by the media after surviving several disasters including the sinking of the Titanic. Find out more.