Chronology of Irish-American History

Governor Phil Murphy

Philip Dunton Murphy is an Irish-American financier, diplomat, and politician currently serving as the 56th Governor of New Jersey.
1990 - 2006

Eileen Collins

Born in Elmira, New York, Eileen Collins parents were immigrants from County Cork, Ireland.She became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle mission during the Discovery's rendezvous with the Mir space station in 1995. By 1999, she had logged 419 hours in space and was given command of the space shuttle Columbia, another first for a woman. She retired from NASA in 2006.

Anthony Kennedy

Born and raised in an Irish Catholic family in Sacramento, California, Anthony Kennedy was appointed to become Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagon.

First Parade in Atlantic City, NJ

The first Saint Patrick's Day parade in Atlantic City was held in 1986. The first parade was organized by Al McMahon, who was the owner of the Circle Tavern in Brigantine and Joe Shields, a bartender who worked at the Surfside in Margate. Inspired by the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Philadelphia and the work of Jimmy Cavanaugh, Al and Joe enlisted the cooperation of tavern owners from The Irish Pub, The Greater Pittsburgh bar, Cassidy's Grille, McGettigan's Saloon, Maynard's, Maloney's to name a few. Members of the Irish Cultural Society and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick also joined the parade.
1956 - 1990

William J. Brennan Jr.

Born in Newark, New Jersey the second of eight children, Justice Brennan was appointed to the Supreme Court by Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

John F. Kennedy

Becomes the first Catholic President of the United States.

Mayor Richard Daley

Irish Catholic native of Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, Richard J. Daley was mayor of Chicago until 1975.

Child Labor Laws

Mary Harris, "Mother Jones" travels to the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia to join in the strike of over 100,000 textile workers (largely Irish-Americans) fighting over working conditions and wages. Many of these workers were children leading to the creation of child labors laws by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Knights of Columbus

Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn. gathers together a group of men to form the Knights organization in response to hostility towards Catholic immigrants and dangerous working conditions which left families fatherless.

The New York Draft Riots

President Lincoln called for 300,000 troops. If you were healthy and were among those called, you had several options provided by federal law: pay a substitute to take your place; pay a commutation fee of $300, enabling you to avoid service. Many Irish-American did not have the money to avoid the draft.
1850 thru 1920's

Domestic Servants

Many Irish emigrants, especially women worked as indentured servants of the upper-class of America.

Potato famine in Ireland begins

Over 1 Million Irish will emigrate to America over the course of a twenty year period from 1845 to 1860.

Erie Canal

A large number of Irish workers were employed to construct the Erie Canal in New York State.

First Saint Patrick's Day Parade

Irish soldiers serving in the British army in New York City hold the first parade honoring the Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Early 18th Century

Scots-Irish immigration

18th-century Ulster immigrants were predominantly Protestant and had settled mostly in the upland regions of the American interior.
17th Century

Colonial settlers coming from the province of Ulster

Descendants of Scottish and English tenant farmers who had been settled in Ireland by the British government came to the American Colonies. Approximately 250,00 migrated to the Colonies of which 20,000 were Catholics.

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Facts and quotes

" St. Patrick was a fifth-century English (or perhaps Scottish) missionary to Ireland. Scholars agree he is a historical figure and that he converted many of the pagans on the island to Christianity, but dismiss most of the legend that has developed about him over the centuries "