Irish American Identity

Welcome to our site about Irish-American Identity! All throughout history, Ireland has sought to create an identity for themselves. After being religiously and politically oppressed by Britain, many Irish citizens immigrated to America, where they hoped for a better, more liberated life–one in which they were free to express themselves and create their own identities. Instead, they were met with adversity and blatant prejudice at every turn. Irish immigrants found it extremely difficult to assimilate with Americans, as they were often less educated and less financially stable than them. As a result, they banded together in order to create that sense of identity that they lacked.

But what exactly is Irish-American identity? It’s difficult to create an exact definition for this term because of its dynamic nature. Irish-American identity originated in various ways but is by no means set in stone. One of the methods through which this identity formed was Irish gangs. Irish gang life was founded on the basis of an authentic Irish identity in a patriarchal society. Another method through which Irish American identity was formed was through cultural rituals like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The urban landscape of New York City also played a role in the formation of Irish-American gang life and identity. However, Irish-American identity is culturally constructed and, therefore, created by people which means it is subject to change.

Why Should You Care About Irish-American Identity?

Learning about Irish-American identity, how it forms and changes, can help you reflect on your own cultural identity, whether you’re Irish-American or not. We have often taken cultural identities like this for granted and do not analyze how they have been historically formed and how they change over time. We hope that in having a greater understanding of these concepts about identity can allow people to look at cultures throughout the world in a different light, and further understand the experiences of immigrant groups and how they maintain cultural identities, under the pressure of assimilation.


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