Happy belated St. Patrick's Day everyone!
Every year, regardless of our relation to the Irish nationality and/or culture, hundreds of people in USA celebrate the St. Patrick's Day. The streets - especially in those cities that have a large number of the nationalities from around the world, like New York City - become very 'green'.
Many stores, restaurants and, especially, the Irish bars, decorate the interiors and exteriors with the well-recognized 'symbols' of St. Patrick's Day holiday - the green leaves are the most common decorations. Even the most American stories, like the pharmacy stores CVS and Duene Reade come up with the St. Patrick's Day deals and decorations from St. Patrick's Day greeting cards to candies with green labels. They run special accessories and Irish-related food and drinks, as well as run various promotions on anything related or not related to the Irish culture. The most upscale places even create and name special dishes and drinks for the St. Patrick's Day. There are more than hundred Irish pubs and restaurants in New York alone!
And all these Irish places must be serving someone, otherwise there would be no point to it all, right? And they do, because the Irish bars have become quite popular in America for a very good selection of the beers and a very laid-back atmosphere.
However, not many know who are and how many of them are the actual Irish people - Irish immigrants and expats, because if all of those who dress accordingly and celebrate the St. Patrick's Day would have been Irish - we've got ourselves quite a large Irish community in the USA, right?
So, what are the actual numbers of the actual Irish people in USA?
According to the figures published by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland, there are over 40 million Americans, who claim Irish descent. The number of Irish residents residing in the U.S., Irish-born residents, is mentioned between 600 and 700 thousand people. And the Irish are still coming to America.
The Irish immigration center was founded in Boston in 1989 and in the first few years, there were over 20,000 people emigrated from Ireland each year. This continued through the '80s and through the early '90s when Congressman Morrison and Congressman Brian Donnelly introduced visa programs aimed at helping the undocumented Irish in America.
However, today, it's not the same case. Today, there are, probably, between 5,000 and 7,000 Irish people immigrating to the U.S. each year, because it's no longer as tough in Ireland as it was back in the days. And, for all the today's Irish bars, restaurants and culture/arts, we should be thankful to the very first immigrants from Ireland.
So, what did the Irish bring to America? I could name at least five 'things' for sure:
1. St. Patrick's Day - an additional holiday to be merry about.
2. Riverdance, and it is resulted actually, in a record increase of Irish step dancing classes across the nation.
3. Fish and chips - for those who do not know, it's actually a typical Irish dish.
4. Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Gabriel Byrne, Kenneth Branagh, and Stephen Rea
5. And lets not forget Susan Boyle, who in 2009 made the Britain's s Got Talent show judges and the rest of the world drop jaws.
And this is good enough for us to be a part of this Irish tradition.
Moreover, according to the Irish Immigration Center, there's "prosperity in Ireland today, in part, because of the role of Irish America; companies like the American Ireland fund, the Irish American partnership, and the work of Enterprise Ireland here in America, which is under the Irish Department of Trade. There's a lot of trade, for example, in New England now. They have 58 Irish companies".
America is not like any other country in the world as it has the highest immigration rate and the largest number of the nationalities living side by side. We are ones of the luckiest in the world to be able to experience the very many cultures at home without even, sometimes, visiting the countries themselves. This had, definitely, made USA so much culturally richer and in so many ways.