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Appreciate Irish Heritage

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Appreciate Irish Heritage
Introduction
The Irish culture is rich in customs, beliefs, and practices with substantial significance in the current times. It also constitutes traditions, literature, music, art, language, legends, sport and cuisine associated with Irish people living in the United States. These aspects of the Irish heritage are not homogeneous among natives of Ireland because of cultural divides that exist between rural Irish and urban Irish, Protestants and Catholics, settled population and travellers, native population and immigrants as well as disparities in language among Irish people. As such, Irish heritage is diverse with different elements that vary depending on the specific area of origin or consideration. The vast flow of people from Ireland to America from 1740 to 1922 is attributable to the modern Irish history in the United States. During this time, about seven million people of Irish origin immigrated to North America. In the attempts to adjust to the demands or requirement of modern industrializing world, some adjustments were made on Irish culture and identity, both personal as well as national. The native Irish culture was linked with the American culture to form the Irish-American culture, a blend of both cultures. However, considerable aspects of the Irish culture are depicted in the practices, festivals, religion, and culture of the contemporary Irish communities living in the United States. Furthermore, several elements of this culture are incorporated in different facets of the modern U.S. society, including material things such as architecture, food, clothing, literature, art, music as well as values, and nonmaterial things such as values, entertainment, religion as well as language, among others. This paper will address the need to appreciate the Irish heritage by identifying and analyzing some of the significant elements of this culture as well as the ethnic group.
Culture of Irish Ethnic Group From 1740 to 1922, many people emigrated from Ireland to the United States. This vast flow is attributed to different events that occurred of the years, such as massive starvation as well as food shortage in Ireland, civil conflicts, industrialization, and exploration, among others (Miller 97). Before the emigration, the Irish ethnic group had untainted Irish culture, traditions, customs and practices. In the context of religion, Irish people widely practiced Roman Catholicism, though some practiced Christianity following its introduction in Ireland in the 5th century. In addition to religion, Irish culture was characterized by multiple festivities some of which are widely celebrated today. Halloween, Celtic festival of Samhain, is a major festival of Irish origin celebrated across the globe. The ancient Irish culture also comprised of unique foods and drinks such as honey, mead, venison, native nuts and berries, especially hazel, and seeds of goosefoot as well as knotgrass. Moreover, the culture was rich in Irish languages, folklore (Irish mythology), and customs that had unique characterization among the Irish people. Traditional practices held great meaning in the Irish society, although the emigration to America relatively altered their significance in the attempts of adjusting to meet the needs of the industrializing world. The modern Irish culture upholds antique Celtic traditions through festivities, music, literature, and language. This culture is renowned because of its robust literary history encompassing epic poetry and folk legends. The stories regarding the mythical Celtic individuals have been propagated from one generation to the other for many centuries. Based on existing Irish history, it is difficult to differentiate true and mythology Irish history because mythology played a significant role in the Irish culture. In addition, Irish heritage is recognized across the globe for inspiring works by Irish natives, including W.B. Yeats and James Joyce, in the recent centuries. Some of the details captured in the literature by these famous writers include the Irish culture encompassing the brawls of urban Dublin life and rural island life. As a result, a strong feeling of appreciation and pride is felt among people of Irish origin because of their culture as well as the history of Irish literary works (Blamires 37). In the Irish culture, music is approximated to have emerged during the same period with Irish mythology. The culture has unique music that has advanced over time to the modern Irish music. Instruments such as bodhráns (hand-held drum), harps, fiddles, flutes, violins, and banjos are played to fashion the traditional Irish melodies. These are some of the instruments, which are considered as the pride of Irish heritage. They are not only unique in their origin, but also functionality and significant in the ancient Irish communities. In addition, lyrics have been integrated to such melodies over the years, which reflect the antique culture of Ireland. These songs contain messages that associate with practices, traditions, customs and events exemplifying the Irish culture. The traditional Irish songs addressed issues, such as civil conflict, mass immigration, and everyday life. Furthermore, Irish dancing is a companion to the Irish music that is currently being taught as well as performed by the Irish. The most significant aspect of Irish heritage manifested in America is the pub culture. Pub culture infuses Irish society in its various cultural divides, and addresses the Irish custom of frequenting bars or public houses (pubs). The traditional pub culture entails more than just consumption of alcohol. It is apparent that different facets of Irish culture are usually best portray and experienced in these pubs. Although drinking is a significant part of pub culture, individuals usually meet in pubs to enjoy a pint, humorous conversation (crac) as well as gossip with the neighbors. Traditionally, all community members were allowed into traditional Irish pubs, but this has been affected by rules and regulations relating to alcohol consumption age limitations. There are fears that more strict alcohol laws may lead to the extinction of Irish pub culture. In addition, traditional Irish music as well as dancing is a common practice at Irish pubs accompanied by the art of fiddle-playing and storytelling of legends. It is important to recognize that Irish pubs play a central role in the Irish cultural experience. Besides, alcohol exportation and production is among the oldest industries associated with the Irish heritage (Scanlan 101).
Discrimination and prejudice experienced by Irish when first coming to the United States The first Irish immigrants in the United States were highly discriminated against, and were regarded as foreigners with odd accents, language as well as customs, and derogatory labels were applied to them. The native ethnic groups along with earlier immigrants began to direct discrimination and prejudice against the Irish. The Irish were attacked, abused, and viciously stereotyped, particularly in the latter half of the 19th century. According to Andersen and Taylor (2010), the Irish, especially those who occupied the east coast and Boston, experienced ethnic oppression of odd magnitude. In that period, some of the signs posted in Boston saloons indicated that “No dogs or Irish allowed.” This is one of the signs revealing the magnitude of discrimination that Irish experienced as early immigrants in the United States. They were regarded as total strangers or aliens in the American land, which affected their socio-economic status because they were discriminated in social places as well as in employment (Andersen and Taylor 252). Some of individuals pressured that laws be implemented to prevent Irish from migrating to the United States. The fact that Irish arrived in big numbers, especially in the mid-nineteenth because of massive starvation and food shortage, posed a threat among the native ethnic groups as well as earlier immigrants. As a result, they sort legal measures of slowing down the numbers or keeping Irish away to avoid sharing their land and resources with the new immigrants (Bowman-Kruhm and Wirths 75). It is instructive to remember that Irish endured extreme discrimination and prejudice with much of it being directed towards Irish women. However, much effort has been dedicated to eliminate such discrimination in the modern society in the United States. This has significantly contributed to the positive relations and existence of different ethnic groups in the society, although women are to an extent still discriminated.
Reasons we should celebrate Irish ethnic group in our country today Based on the aforementioned aspects of the Irish culture, it is apparent that we should celebrate Irish ethnic group for its rich heritage. The Irish culture encompasses diverse aspects of historical significance not only to the Irish society but also to the world at large. If not for the Halloween festival, let us celebrate Irish ethnic group because of their outstanding pub culture that as some considerable effects in our modern social life. The Irish culture is accredited for the Halloween, a popular festival celebrated across the globe. In addition, its influence is felt in other areas, such as architecture, literature, art, music, and dancing, among others. The Irish ethnic group has also produced some important people who have made major contributions in the United States. Some of the people include John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, former presidents of the United States. The ancestors of John F. Kennedy all were Irish mainly from Counties Limerick, Waterford, and Cork, while the ancestors of father to Ronald Reagan were all Irish. This ethnic group has produced famous politicians and activities, including Charles Thomson (1729-1824), Richard Martin (1754-1834), Michael Collins (1890-1922), and Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847). Others are writers, playwrights, and poets, such as Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, and Bram Stoker (Eupedia para.1).
Conclusion
The Irish culture is rich in customs, beliefs, and practices with substantial significance in the current times. It has unique traditions, literature, music, art, language, legends, sport and cuisine associated with Irish people living in the United States. One of the most significant aspects of Irish heritage manifested in America is the pub culture. It is also accredited for the introduction of Halloween festival celebrated in different corners of the world. Furthermore, Irish ethnic group has produced some of prominent people in the American history, including former U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. Therefore, let us appreciate and celebrate the Irish ethnic group for the significant contributions it has made in America.
Works Cited
Andersen, Margaret L and Howard Francis Taylor. Sociology: The Essentials. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Blamires, Steve. The Irish Celtic Magical Tradition. Cheltenham: Skylight Press, 2012. Print.
Bowman-Kruhm, Mary and Claudine G Wirths. Coping With Discrimination and Prejudice. New York: Rosen Publishing Group, 2000. Print.
Eupedia. List of famous Irish people. 2012. . 5 April 2013.
Miller, Kerby A. "Emigrants and Exiles: Irish Cultures and Irish Emigration to North America, 1790-1922." Irish Historical Studies 22.86 (1980): 97-125.
Scanlan, Margaret. Culture And Customs of Ireland. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. Print.

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