Irish Consul General Noel Kilkenny mentioned this week his fear that in 30 years time, Irish America may go the way of German America, that is, largely lose its identification with its ancestral homeland, in our case, Ireland and Irish culture. Do you share that fear? And what might each of us do to avoid that sad fate?
Further, Kilkenny suggests that Irish America is now at the apex of its influence and prestige in the United States. Do you concur?
And what might we all here within The Wild Geese's expanding ranks, with the tools we have here, do to best promote these links with 'Mother Ireland'?
This is some great information, Kent. I'd like to encourage you to do a bit of blogging here from time-to-time, because it's obvious you have a wealth of knowledge on these matters. I, too, have some German mixed into my background along with the Irish, so what you say is very interesting to me (and likely many others). Thanks for the comments ... looking forward to learning more from you!
Wow, thank you for the nice words. I have to figure out how to start a "Blog" here. I would love to do this. I love history, and have a large collection of books on Irish and German America. I am also a collector of Irish American music - rare LPs of recordings of Irish music made in America in the 50s and 60s. Would love to share some of the musical history and heritage of Irish America with all The Wild Geese. Also the contribution of our people to other styles of American music, its an amazing history...
Kent, I second Ryan's encouragement for you to blog here regularly on that most interesting focus, on the Irish-German nexus. We'll heavily promote it, as will, I'm sure many of our members, to their networks.
Thank you Ger, I appreciate that very much. Euro diaspora history, as well as the music (recordings) and dance of the various diaspora communites in the Americas is more than just a hobby, its a passion that I have had for most of my life. It might be interesting to share some of the more forgotten and obscure parts of our history. I'll have to put something together... Thank you.
Looking forward to getting more of your valued perspectives here, Kent.
I just returned from a networking meeting at the German American Chamber of Commerce here in Chicago! How fitting to come upon this thread right now. We've got lots of multi-cultural affinity groups here in Chicago, being a true melting pot of the Midwestern United States. I want to point out one rather obvious advantage I find in keeping in touch with my Irish roots - I speak the same language! It's a little more difficult for me to relate to German culture because I cannot communicate in German. I still feel a strong affinity for the German side of my heritage ... but I have to work harder and/or in different ways than I relate to the Irish diaspora.
Hi Tom, love your hometown and have been there several times including the South Side Irish Parade, in my opnion the best Irish party in the country. You make a good point about the German side, having the language really helps. Among Americans of mixed ethnic background (who have any ethnic identity at all) it's not unusual that one cultural identity might be stronger than another. It's a personal thing, and I'm just glad you are connected to your heritage.
I've spent some time on the north side in the old German area in Chicago called Lincoln Square. Found some great places to hang out around N. Lincoln and Western including the Chicago Brauhaus. Fantastic Irish and German community life still alive in the great city of Chicago! /kw
Today in America, being of Irish descent is treated like Halloween. Instead of a silly costume, on a March day you wear green and drink too much. Growing up in Boston in the 40s and 50s, being Irish meant something profound. You were proud of the hundreds of years battle against the Brits for freedom and for the wonderful literary and musical culture and the historical faith in Christ and the loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church. You might have lived in a three-decker and had a blue collar job, but you descended from brave warriors, poets, singers and kings. You were also proud that your ancestors were the best of the Irish - the ones with the balls to leave the old country to find a better life.
Today most Irish Americans (third & fourth generation) don't know much about where they came from and the sacrifices made so they could play golf instead of going to Mass on Sunday; so they could complain about politics but not vote; so they could ask others to sacrifice by paying confiscatory taxes and complain when their rapacious government doesn't give them enough goodies.
Unfortunately soon we will be like the old Boston Brahmins Yankees (my family's former enemies), birth controlled out of existence or indistinguishable from the mass of Americans.
Clare, Rod, thanks for sharing your experiences and perspective here. Clare, I might recommend the AOH as a good place to connect with the Irish in Virginia. There is a chapter in Fredericksburg, and I'm sure there are others. Perhaps, Ned, you can steer Clare to Irish resources in the Cavalier State. (Ned is a former president of the National Ancient Order of Hibernians, by the way.)
Rod, you highlight a characteristic of the Irish that does seem endangered, that of identifying with other Irish. That's one of the reason's why we invest our time and treasure in The Wild Geeset, to use technology to link those of us who relish our shared experiences and those of our ancestors and want to explore and celebrate them. Ger