Today is a day to celebrate Irish heritage, even if it is not Irish Catholic heritage.
Usually when people think of Irish-Americans they think of the large waves of Irish Catholics who emigrated to the US in the 19th century. More than 4 million immigrants came to the US from Ireland in the 19th century.
However, there were also Irish Catholics who came to the colonies before the Revolutionary War. The numbers are not as large, and estimates vary as to how many there were. There were probably 75-100 thousand immigrants in the 1600’s and about 100 thousand in the 1700’s.
My ancestors however were from North Ireland and were later known as Scotch-Irish to differentiate them from the Irish Catholics. There were about 250 thousand immigrants from North Ireland and Scotland that came to America in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Another branch of my family were Scottish Covenanters and came to Pennsylvania later in the 18th century.
The picture above is of my 4th Great Grandfather Absalom Leeper who was born in 1790 in Pennsylvania. He was one of the first Restoration Movement preachers in Iowa.
Of course, St. Patrick’s Day is more about the Irish Catholic traditions, but it is still a great day to remember our Irish heritage.
I was definitely reminded of my Irish heritage today. The office that I work in is in Dublin, California so we are surrounded by Irish names and images. Many of the street names are Irish and there are shamrocks all over the place.
Here is a picture of the Dublin Boulevard bridge crossing over the Alamo canal.
This afternoon we had a food truck come to our parking lot and were able to try some Irish food. Unfortunately it was not as good as this corned beef and cabbage I had with some friends years ago. It was really delicious.
There is some interesting history about Ireland and corned beef, but I want to research it further before I write more about it. However, I will share that the term ‘corned’ comes from the coarse salt or corns of salt that were used to preserve the beef.
Do you have Irish or Scotch-Irish ancestry?