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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Home Life - HolidaysHolidays Arrow to St Patrick's DaySt. Patricks Day

The American Irish
You can count on 'em...

Chicago Irish
The Chicago River, dyed
green for St. Patrick's Day.

There are 3.8 million people in Ireland, but when Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, it seems that the whole world turns Irish.

The day commemorates Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland in the Fifth Century.

Although not an official holiday in the United States, St. Patrick's Day has a long history of being celebrated with parades and general goodwill toward all things Irish, or at least Irish-American.

(Translation: green beer, corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread).

The Irish who immigrated to the United States brought the traditions of the home land with them. Many who fled the poverty, famine and unrest landed on the shores of North America. In the US today, there are 33.7 million residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself.

Irish Mass

Almost a quarter of the people who live in the state of Massachusetts descend from Irish immigrants.

With 23 percent of the population of Celtic ancestry, Irish Massachusetts has a higher proportion of residents of Irish descent than any other state, edging out New Hampshire (20 percent) and Rhode Island (18 percent).

The remaining New England states -- Connecticut, Vermont and Maine -- also rank among the top 10 in this category, as does Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Montana.

While New York City has the largest number of Irish residents Boston tops the list of cities with the largest percentage of the population.

Some more Irish-American numbers...

156,000 - U.S. residents born in Ireland, which was among the top 10 countries of birth among the foreign-born population as recently as 1970.

373,000 - Tourists and business travelers from "the old sod" who visit the United States annually.

$24 billion - The value of U.S. imports from the Republic of Ireland during a recent 10-month period. Meanwhile, the United States exported $7.5 billion worth of goods to Ireland.

22 - Gallons of beer consumed per capita by Americans annually. Some establishments offer beer dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

9 - Number of places in the United States which share the name of Dublin, Ireland's capital city. Dublin, Ohio, was the most populous, at 31,392, followed closely by Dublin, California, at 29,973.

4 - Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, West Virginia and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and 2,029 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Indiana had 168 residents and Shamrock, Oklahoma, 125.

If you're still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day after stopping by one of the places named "Shamrock" or "Dublin," then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with 3,488 residents, of whom in a ratio of 1-in-6 are of Irish descent.


Some Irish-American Trivia: Pop Quiz

Think you know a lot about Ireland and Irish-American pop-culture? Take our pop quiz to find out. You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page....and no peeking!!

1. Saint Patrick was born in what country?
(a) Ireland, of course
(b) England
(c) Scotland

2. What form of Irish dance became all the rage in America at the turn of the 19th century?
(a) Step dancing
(b) Foxtrot
(c) Irish jig

3. Those who kiss the Blarney Stone are said to be given what?
(a) Chapped lips
(b) The gift of gab
(c) A sunny disposition

4. Where do leprechauns bury their pot of gold?
(a) Under a tree
(b) At the end of the rainbow
(c) Down a well

5. "Erin go Bragh" means this in Irish:
(a) Irish Win!
(b) Ireland Forever
(c) Ireland the Brave

6. "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral" was big hit for Bing Crosby in what popular movie?
(a) Going My Way
(b) Pennies from Heaven
(c) Bells of St. Mary

7. What is Ireland's nickname?
(a) The Old Sod
(b) Erin
(c) The Emerald Isle
(d) All of the above

8. What is Ireland's most common surname?
(a) Murphy
(b) O'Connor
(c) Kelly

ANSWERS 1. (c) Scotland 2. (c) Irish jig 3. (b) gift of gab 4. (b) end of the rainbow 5.. (b) Ireland Forever 6. (a) Going My Way 7. (d) All of the above 9. (a) Murphy

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