Irish-Americans feel connected to heritage for more than a century

Irish-Americans feel connected to heritage for more than a century

Irish Americans still feel a strong connection to their heritage today, even though most have ancestors that emigrated across the Atlantic more than three generations ago.

That is according to a survey carried out by Change Research by the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, and Council for Irish American Relations.

They quizzed 736 Irish-Americans about a number of aspects of their heritage and how it is still relevant to them today.

The study showed that Irish Americans born and raised over the past few generations may have had no personal contact with their ancestors from Ireland, but they still feel that identity.

Of those surveyed, only 1% had themselves emigrated from Ireland. There were 5% whose parents had moved from Ireland, with 37% holding an Irish connection from their grandparents and 40% were from earlier ancestors.

The Irish pride is shown to last several generations and be part of a family identity for more than a century.

The study also noted that religion is now a less important part of Irish American identity than it has been in the past.

Nearly half of those surveyed, 47%, identified as Catholic, but only 12% regularly attended church.

There were also 15% who were raised Catholic but no longer identify as Catholic, while 19% identify as Protestant, 16% identify as non-religious, and 15% said other religions.

Nearly half (40%) identify as Irish American, while 46% now simply consider themselves American. Only 4% describe themselves as Irish.

Family gatherings (40%) are the events where they are most likely to mix with other Irish Americans. Parades and events were the second most common place to mix at 29%, while 23% named the pub, and 15% said at church.

It is family that makes most Irish Americans feel in touch with their heritage and Irish history and Irish music were among the popular topics that create interest in their heritage.

The people surveyed were spread from around the US, with 26% from the northeast, 24% from the midwest, 31% from the south and 19% from the west. They were also politically diverse, with 37% of identifying as Democrats, 29% as Republicans, and the remainder something else or left unanswered.

When asked what the most important things US politicians should do in relation to Ireland, supporting a peaceful Irish unification was the most common answer chosen by 31%.

It was closely followed by a two-way trade investment between Ireland and the USA which was voted by 29%.

To strengthen links between the two countries, 52% thought there should be more opportunities for young Irish Americans to study, volunteer and work in Ireland.

Looking east across the Atlantic Ocean at modern Ireland now, 28% of Irish Americans said it was a progressive, modern state while 26% said a friendly and fun place to visit.

However, 13% thought Ireland was too liberal, while 11% thought Ireland is too conservative.