History of Ireland and Your Heritage

March 5, 2021  - by 
a woman with irish heritage

Did you know there are no wild snakes in Ireland? If there weren’t already a hundred and one things to already love about the Emerald Isle, this might be the best! With low central plains and coastal mountains, Ireland is a most beautiful backdrop to a rich heritage of myth, legends, and tradition.

Irish Heritage Today

Though Ireland only has a population of about 4.9 million, Irish heritage is widespread in the world. It is estimated that nearly 32 million U.S. residents claimed Irish ancestry in 2018; in Britain, it is estimated nearly 6 million residents can claim an Irish heritage two generations back.

Are you and your family part of this ancient and amazing culture? You can explore your Irish heritage and history in the articles below. When you are ready to start your family history research in Ireland, be sure to use the many record collections available at FamilySearch.org.


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with FamilySearch!

Join us in an all-day livestream about Irish history, Irish records and how to find your ancestors. Visit the Family History Library Facebook page on March 17, 2021 to participate.

(Classes start at 9:00 am, MDT and will continue until 4:30 pm, MDT.)


The Irish Diaspora

Diaspora is a Greek word meaning “to scatter.” Through all generations of time, many cultures of the world have been scattered to other places. The Irish are no exception.

The term “Irish Diaspora” was first noted in the 1954 book titled The Vanishing Irish. Additionally, in a 1995 address by Ireland’s then-president Mary Robinson, it was declared that there were 70 million people worldwide who could claim Irish descent. She further stated, “The men and women of our diaspora represent not simply a series of departures and losses. They remain, even while absent, a precious reflection of our own growth and change, a precious reminder of the many strands of identity which compose our story.”

a young girl celebrates st patrick's day, an irish heritage celebration

Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day

Today many counties, including the U.S., Britain, Argentina, Canada, Australia, and others have Irish celebrations. March 17 has long been celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day because that is the date St. Patrick was said to have died in 461 AD.

St. Patrick is famed for having brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century. Originally a religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day has morphed into a celebration of all things Irish. There are parades, leprechauns, shamrocks, and the wearing of green, just to name a few.

Irish Genealogy

Finding Irish roots has been difficult for many researchers. War, destruction, and loss of records are just a few of the hinderances that require family historians to think outside the box. In the last several years, Ireland counties have made an effort to share what genealogically valuable records they have with the world. Read the articles below to learn more about how to find your Irish ancestors.

Irish Culture and Legends

Celtic bards, or professional storytellers, passed down and recorded the history of Ireland and her people. From banshees to fairies, Irish stories embody the peoples’ love of their island and a tradition influenced by mythical creatures and superstition. Did you know that the Leprechaun originally wore a red suit? To learn more about the Irish stories of the past, read these fun articles below.

Visiting Ireland Today

If you dream of visiting the beautiful land of Ireland, you are not alone. Some 11 million tourists visited Ireland in 2019. In fact, tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the Republic of Ireland’s economy.

Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery, traditional music, over 30,000 castles, ancient mounds, and more! Read these articles below to learn more about planning your dream trip to Ireland.

Whether at home or abroad, learning about your Irish Heritage can bring you closer to your ancestors. Dive into the FamilySearch Family Tree to find information about your Irish ancestors today!

Amie Tennant

Amie Bowser Tennant is a genealogy researcher, writer and presenter.She writes blog articles and other content for many top companies and societies in the genealogy field. Her most treasured experience is working as a consultant for family history. Amie lives with her husband and three children in Ohio, surrounded by many of her extended family.

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  1. I wish I could make the connection from the USA to Ireland, I would love to continue the search but I am at a brick wall with Samuel Madden. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  2. My maiden name is McLaughlan. My father was Alexander McLaughlan born in Cathcart, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Sometimes it is called Busby, Renfrewshire Scotland. His fatherwas John McLaughlan born about 1844 in Belfast, Ireland. He died on 10 March, 1910 at Netherlee, Glasgow, Scotland . On his Marriage Cert my grandfather states his parents as William McLaughlan and Jane Carmichael both of Ireland. Family info says they were from and went Ballymena or Limavady Ireland. They had another son called Robert McLaughlan who was born on 5th March, 1850 and he went to Canada and married catherine Isabella Reaney. They are lots of variations of the McLaughlan and Reaney. I even went to Salt Lake Library but didnt get anywhere. Any help would be truly appreciated. I was born in Scotland but have lived in Australia for the past 53 years.