People Of Irish Heritage

People Of Irish Heritage

People Of Irish Heritage

Read chapter 23, 33 and 34 of the class textbook and review the attached PowerPoint presentations.  Read content chapter 33 and 34 in Davis Plus Online Website.  Once done answer the following questions; People Of Irish Heritage

1.  Discuss the organization and the family role in every one of the heritages mentioned about and how they affect (positively or negatively) the delivery of health care.

2.  Identify sociocultural variables within the Irish, Italian and Puerto Rican heritage and mention some examples.

A minimum of 3 evidenced-based references must be used (excluding the class textbook).    References must be no older than 5 years.  A minimum of 700 words is required.

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Chapter 33

People of Irish Heritage Stephanie Myers Schim

The author would like to thank Sarah A. Wilson for her contribution to this chapter in previous editions.

Overview, Inhabited Localities, and Topography Overview Ireland is an island located on the extreme northwest of the continent of Europe. The North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St. George’s Channel narrowly separate Ireland from England, Scotland, and Wales to the east and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean surround the is- land to the west, north, and south. Called Éire, the Emerald Isle, and the Island of Saints and Scholars, Ireland is divided politically into 26 counties that make up the Republic of Ireland and six counties that comprise Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland, whose capitol city is Dublin, covers most of the south part of the island. With a population of 4.6 million people, the Republic of Ireland at a landmass of 26,595 square miles is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia (CIA World Factbook, 2011a). The remainder of the island, Northern Ireland, with its capitol city of Belfast, is officially part of the United Kingdom (UK). Northern Ireland has a land- mass of 5158 square miles and a population of over 1.6 million (CIA World Factbook, 2011b). Ireland continues to function as a single entity across the par- tition in areas such as transport, telecommunications, energy, and water systems, and is considered as a whole with regard to many religious, cultural, and sporting organizations. The two countries differ in many other respects including politics and economics.


Geographically Ireland resembles a basin consist- ing of a central plain rimmed with low mountains. Surrounded by water, Ireland has a cool maritime cli- mate with an average annual rainfall between 31 and 110 inches. The winters are mild, with temperatures of 40ºF in January; the summers are also mild, with temperatures of 66ºF common in July (MET éireann, 2011). With this climate, the island is ideal for growth of turfgrass which provides excellent pasture for sheep and cattle and which is the source of the peat

traditionally used for heating homes and cooking. The intense green of the rolling grassland is the likely source for nicknames such as the Emerald Isle and the Auld Sod.

Formerly a country with an agricultural economy, the Republic of Ireland underwent extraordinary eco- nomic growth from the early 1990s to 2008. Termed the Celtic Tiger, Ireland became a leader in high- technology industries, and people from all over the world, and especially from other European countries, moved into Ireland (Economic and Social Research Institute [ESRI], 2011). This expanding diversity re- sulted in the need for people in Ireland to specify their ancestry for the first time with the 2006 census. The global economic recession of recent years has also slowed the Irish economy. With expanding hardships among Ireland’s trading partners and reduced de- mand for Irish exports, the unemployment rate is cur- rently about 12 percent and is expected to rise as the recession continues. However, the Irish investment in higher education, high-tech industries, and interna- tionally traded services is likely to yield a continuing place for Ireland as one of the largest economic engines of Europe (ESRI, 2011).

The history of the Irish people is a chronicle of spirit, pride, strife and bloodshed, and global migra- tion. Due to complex social, cultural, and economic factors, for several centuries the largest export from Ireland was her people. The Irish Diaspora includes massive and persistent emigration to the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, many countries of South and Central American, South Africa, and continental Europe (Boyle & Kichin, 2008; Lee, 2009) In the 2000 U.S. Census, the percent of the U.S. population re- porting their primary ancestry as Irish, Scotch-Irish, or Celtic was slightly over 10 percent or about 22.6 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

The history of the Irish in America has been marked by many of the trials and tribulations experienced by

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2 Aggregate Data for Cultural-Specific Groups

other immigrants including religious persecution and economic discrimination. Irish Americans are now as diverse a group as any other, and health-care providers must be careful to avoid generalizations and assump- tions because individuals within cultural groups demonstrate wide variability. Factors that influence Irish Americans’ cultural beliefs include, but are not limited to, geographic heritage, socioeconomic status, education, religion, generation, and length of time away from their homeland as well as other variant cul- tural characteristics (see Chapter 1 in the third edition of this book).

Heritage and Residence Historically, Ireland experienced successive invasions and conflicts in part due to its strategic location in northern Europe close to Great Britain. The Celts came to the area from Europe approximately 10,000 years ago. The Gales, a subgroup of Celtic people, gave Ireland the name Éire. The ancient Gaelic stock mixed with English, Scottish, Welsh, French, Flemish, Norse, and German colonists. England dominated Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries, creating deeply rooted divisions between English Anglicans, Scottish Presbyte- rians, and Irish Catholics (Nolan, 2011).

Irish people immigrated to North America in large numbers beginning in the 1600s. The earliest settle- ments of Irish Roman Catholics in the United States were in the colonies of Virginia and Maryland. The Irish ship St. Patrick arrived in Boston harbor in 1636. Irish Catholics experienced legal, social, and political discrimination in the predominantly Protestant early America, and by 1699, Irish Catholic immigration was restricted in the colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. For most of the 18th century, immi- gration from Ireland was dominated by Presbyterians since Irish Catholics were not welcome. In the 19th and 20th centuries, most Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic. Irish Catholics were the first Roman Catholics to come to the United States in large num- bers (Byrne, 2000). Although many of the first Irish immigrants settled in industrial areas along the Atlantic coast in the northeast, more recent histori- cal analyses have demonstrated that Protestant and Catholic Irish settled in the early American South as well as in the West (Nolan, 2009). The Northern cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston had the largest Irish settlements, followed by commercial and industrial centers in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan.

At the end of the 18th century, Ireland experienced rapid population growth supported by the cultivation of potatoes beginning in the 1720s. By the 1830s the Irish population was estimated at over 8 million people, but when blight destroyed potato crops between 1845 and 1848, almost a million Irish starved to death. Over two million people left Ireland in the

10 years from 1845 to 1855 (Lee, 2009). After that time, movement out of Ireland continued steadily due to the country’s ongoing inability to provide food or jobs for its citizens. Between 1841 and 1925 about 4.75 million Irish came to the United States, around 75,000 went to Canada, and almost 400,000 went to Australia. By 1911 about one-third of all people born in Ireland were living elsewhere (Lee, 2009).

In 1920, 90 percent of all Irish Americans were re- siding in urban areas. As with immigrants from many other parts of the world, many newly arrived Irish lived in urban tenements or small, cheaply built wooden houses referred to as shanties. From this comes the derogatory term for poor, ignorant, and un- skilled urban dwellers as shanty Irish. In spite of often deplorable living conditions, many Irish in America continued their traditional practice of hanging lace curtains in their windows. Observers, seeing the lace as a sign of pride and pretension in the Irish ghettos, coined the term lace-curtain Irish which is offensively applied to someone who pretends to higher social sta- tus than that to which he or she is entitled. Additional derisive terms for the Irish include Mick and Paddy. The origins for Mick are debated, but one explana- tion refers to the common Celtic surnames that start with “Mc” and “Mac” (as in McSorely, McFarland, MacDonald). Paddy probably derives from the com- mon Irish given name of Patrick, a beloved Irish saint. In large U.S. cities like New York and Boston, such a large percentage of local police forces in the early 20th century were of Irish heritage, that police vehicles used to remove prisoners became known as paddy wagons.