If You Have Irish Heritage is a poem celebrating the generations of Irish people who fought to make their country free and who took their values all across the world to countries like America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many more.
More than 40 million people in the United States alone claim Irish heritage. In the United Kingdom the figure is an estimated 6 million and there are millions more scattered across the globe.
For many of these people, Ireland has an irresistible appeal…as if it’s their spiritual home. Indeed many people whose only connection with Ireland dates back several generations talk about how they feel they’re back in their rightful place when they touch down on Irish soil for the first time.
People whose families left Ireland more than a hundred years ago still value their Irish heritage and talk about how Ireland gives them a sense of identity and belonging.
Many are content simply to visit and take an interest in Irish music, dancing or culture…others delve much further and visit genealogy sites to try to trace their family roots.
This poem tries to express that deep sense of continuing heritage and the desire to keep the flame alive.
If You Have Irish Heritage by NP Kehoe
If you have Irish heritage, you’re surely bound to wonder
About the people you sprang from, and their world torn asunder.
For a thousand generations they ruled their four green fields
But they made their land too beautiful…invaders came to steal
So they fought against oppression, and the Hunger’s mortal sin,
They fought for independence when no one thought they’d win
They fought for opportunity, at home and in new lands
They dreamed of a better world…then built it with bare hands
America…and Britannia, who in the famine left us stranded,
Where would either of them be if the Irish hadn’t landed?
To build their roads and railways, to fight their endless wars
To fly the flag of liberty enshrined in rights and laws
Canada, Australia…and too many more to mention?
They all owe a debt to their Irish dimension
So who were these teeming masses…what could their reasons be?
What made them what they were…what led to you and me?
They were saints, they were sinners, some humble, some great
Always outnumbered but they punched above their weight
Loving, loyal yet feisty, and this is surely true…
They bundled up their qualities and passed them on to you
They only had one real desire through all the troubles and the strife
It was just to give their children the chance of a better life
So what are we to do now…sons and daughters of the Gael?
After all they did for us…can we hold back and fail?
Let us honour them with our actions…let them look down and see
We took the gifts they gave us and became all that we could be
One more thing…keep alive their dream
Never forget them or their land…in our hearts, forever green.
By N P Kehoe
N P Kehoe is a writer from Co Wexford who has spent much of his time in the UK. He now moves frequently between the two.
If You Have Irish Heritage… a rallying call for the millions of people across the world who have Irish roots. If Ireland calls to you in any way at all… you’ll love this verse set to the gentle sound of the Wearing of the Green and featuring classic Irish imagery.
Comments about the video from Facebook;
Marie Sheehan; Beautiful poem. Ever so proud of my Irish heritage.
Noreen Muirhead Darvid; Thank you for that beautiful video along with my Grandmother and Dad and Mom and Uncles aunts and cousins who came to US to give us that wonderful life we have. Proud to be a first generation Irish girl!!!
Marianne McCarthy; I absolutely LOVE this….!!!!
Vikki Morris Deufemia; Beautiful. So proud of my Irish heritage on both sides of my family.
Rebecca Garrett Fogg; I’ve got Irish on both sides of My Family! And Very Proud of it.
This is Beautiful… The verses and the pictures
George Law; Well worth listening to
Jude Fell; In my heart forever green
Mary Cross; could be up all night listening to this love my Irish family x
Diane Corrigan; Beautiful, proud to be Irish
Marie Kampes; This is sad,true and beautiful ..I sincerely hope the boyos in the Dail see it ,and maybe learn from it ..even appreciate it ..
Sandi Christian King Hageman; Absolutely beautiful!
Bernie O’Connor; Reminds me of the days when I was a member of the Melbourne Irish Pipers and had to escort Archbishop Daniel
Mannix up Bourke street at the head of the St Pat’s Day procession… playing Wearing of the Green.
Faye Irvin; I am proud to be Irish! We inherited the strong will and strength to survive though the hardest of times!
Missy Mahall; My ancestors, Thomas and his son John, Maguire were granted American citizenship with their honorable discharges from the Union Army in the Civil War.
Lesley Banks Blakey; Lovely verse my Irish heritage come on both sides of the family
Judy Tropeano; Second generation so very proud of my Irish heritage!
Tierney Renat; Ireland has been calling me since I was 6. As soon as I get enough I’ll be moving there.
Cathy Meehan; We Irish we punch above weight always have always will coz were just like that xx
Maria Kiernan Baker; Am proud to be Irish
Lorine Johnson Byrd; Very good history of the Irish
Gladys Zumwalt; Proud of my Irish Heritage
Christine Spencer; Lovely . I have Irish roots .
Lois Paige Simenson; Go raibh maith agat
Anne O’Halloran Beck; This is beautiful! Hope my family listens to it.
Erin O’Neill; Will never forget- always in my heart ☘☘☘
Donna Slattery; That’s beautiful Noreen thanks for sharing
Carolyn Gauthier; Kind of afraid to watch this cause it will probably leave me blubbering like an idiot!
Noel Healy; Made my heart go soft watching that clip
Kim Munoz; Erin go bragh
Renny Talbott; Lovely
Barbara Cantrell; Beautiful!
Anne Betts; Beautifully said!
Karen Davis; I love it too