The Irish Impact on America's Revolution

We extend our best wishes to all our American Wild Geese on this Independence Day.  The contributions of Irish-Americans in the War Between the States is well documented and much discussed.  Perhaps less so is the impact some of the earliest Irish immigrants had upon the American revolution of the late 18th century.  

Many of these would have been of Scots-Irish descent, but certainly not all.  Some historians have estimated the Irish made the very best of soldiers in the fight against the English crown because of the animosity which already existed from their experiences with the English and their penal laws back at home.

Below, we've provided links to articles which tell a small part of this story.  We'd like to hear from you, though, on what you know about any ancestors who served in George Washington's Continental Army.  Leave a comment below and tell us their names and where they came from as we honor those who served to help make the United States of America a beacon of freedom for the entire world.

Irish American Signers of the Declaration of Independence 

Hercules Mulligan: George Washington's Irish Spy

Stephen Moylan, First President Friendly Sons of St. Patrick"

A Monument for Haslet's Delaware Regiment

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Tags: Americas, Britain, Diaspora History, Military History, United States

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on July 4, 2013 at 10:43am

The first Irish-born immigrant on my dad's side, Thady "O'Rorke" arrived in Philadelphia in the 1730s during the period when most people making that trip were Scots-Irish.  They were, therefore, among the very small numbers of Catholic Irish of the old Gaelic stock fleeing the severely oppressive Penal Laws in-force at the time.  Each of Thady's sons fought for Washington's Continental Army, and were subsequently given plots of land in the southwestern corner of Virginia for their service.  

I would imagine they had heard of the severe laws and atrocities being carried out back in Ireland from their father, and I would imagine that this would have spurred them on to be effective fighters for the cause of freedom.

Comment by LuRose Williams on July 4, 2013 at 12:44pm

My Scot Irish ancestors from Ulster Plantation to PA...

Cook, Ruddell, Col. Benjamin Wilson family.., Byrne, Miller, clifton, and otheres I cant remember at this moment...These folks stepped from War in scotland, Ireland the in American, back to back...I am suprised we even can tell of it...One family that I omitted were the Ochiltrees from Market Hill....

Thank you for accepting me...



Comment by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill on July 6, 2013 at 5:33am

Roger Lamb from Dublin wrote about his experiences in the Americas where he served in the British army. I wrote about him here:

Comment by Gerry Regan on July 6, 2013 at 9:23am

Very engaging article, Rónán. I hope you post some articles here. We'll work hard to get them the large readership they deserve. Great photo on your blog, as well. Might you post it or something like it on your profile here? Helps build community! Ger

Comment by LuRose Williams on July 6, 2013 at 3:04pm

Thank you for that post....The Scot Irish, seems never had a chance...Coming out of battle with the 15 and the 45, casting lots for freedom or death, boarded  on ships as Rebels, sold into slavery for their indenture..Upon arrival to US, most of them were in the American Revolutionary War, then India Wars and the  War Between the States...But the Colonies have since benefited by the intelligence of those hearty peopole...


Comment by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill on July 6, 2013 at 5:39pm

LuRose, if you are interested in the Scotch Irish I can recommend the Ulster American Folk Park, near Omagh.


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