Ireland and the Americas

Culture, Politics, and History

by James P. Byrne, Philip Coleman, and Jason King, Editors


Nearly 200,000 Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans fought in the American Civil War. Today, the American Ireland Fund, a nonpolitical and nonsectarian fund, has raised more than $200 million for over 1,000 projects in Ireland. On a proportional basis, no other ethnic group has proven more inclined to emigrate or appears more widely scattered across the American continents than the Irish.

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Cover image for Ireland and the Americas

February 2008


Pages 967
Volumes 3
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Countries and Regions

This work is a distinctive, multidisciplinary encyclopedia covering the cultural, political, economic, musical, and literary impact that Ireland and the nations of the Americas have had on one another since the time of Brendan the Navigator.

Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History aims to broaden the traditional notion of 'Irish-American' beyond Boston, New York, and Chicago. In additional to full coverage of Irish culture in those settings, it reveals the pervasive Irish influence in everything from the settling of the American West, to the spread of Christianity throughout the hemisphere, to Irish involvement in revolutionary movements from the American colonies to Mexico to South America.

In addition, the encyclopedia shows the profound impact of Irish Americans on their homeland, in everything from art and literature informed by the emigrant experience, to efforts by Irish Americans to influence Irish politics. Ranging from colonial times to the present, and informed by the surge of academic interest in the past 30 years, Ireland and the Americas is the definitive resource on the profound ties that bind the cultures of Ireland, the United States, Canada, and Latin America.


  • Numerous thematic entries on evocative Irish-American symbols and markers of transnational identity like the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Grosse Ille, the Boston Irish, and the impact of the Kennedy family
  • Extensive bibliographies listing sources ranging from archival letters to the most recent scholarship from Ireland and the nations of the Americas


  • Provides the most extensive coverage available of influential events outside the U.S. involving Irish emigrants, including General O'Higgins' role in the creation of Chile, Canadian General de Chastelain's role in bringing peace to Ulster, and the alleged IRA backing for Colombian guerrillas
  • Examines the profound influence of the nations of the Americas on modern Ireland, both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland
  • Covers the migration process in its entirety from the moment of departure from Ireland to the foundation, establishment, and consolidation of transatlantic Irish communities over a period of generations in both North and South America
Author Info

James P. Byrne, PhD, is an IRCHSS Government of Ireland Fellow in the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. He has published articles on Irish-American cultural identity in MELUS and IJAS.

Philip Coleman, PhD, is Broad Curriculum Lecturer in English Literature in the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. He is a committee member of the Irish Association for American Studies and has published articles on various aspects of modern American poetry.

Jason King, PhD, is a lecturer in the English Department at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Kildare, Ireland. He has published articles on Irish diasporic writings and Irish-Canadian cultural identity.



"This is a thought-provoking resource that will be of interest to general readers as well as students high school age and above."Book News

"This work is recommended for public and academic libraries."Booklist


"This is a useful and well-researched reference work."American Reference Books Annual

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