On the Presidential Trail

They may have been born in the USA, but an astounding 17 out of the 43 US Presidents can claim some form of Irish ancestry.

From Jackson to George W, these international statesmen can trace their roots from the humble whitewashed cottages of Ireland all the way to the White House's corridors of power.

The first Irish emigrants were mostly Ulster Scots - men and women of Scottish background who settled in what is now Northern Ireland.

Religious persecution in the 1700s, particularly against Presbyterians, led them to seek a better life in the New World, and it is from this background that Presidents Jackson, Grant, Arthur and Wilson descended.

Though Jackson's house no longer exists, a nearby cottage has been restored to replicate the era of his family home. The remaining three Presidents' ancestral homes have, however, survived and their restorations provide tangible links between our two countries.

The flights from the Old to the New World, both in the 18th Century and post-Famine, are brought vividly to life at the Ulster American Folk Park, near Omagh, Co. Tyrone. And these incredible journeys are also retold in the annual Eagle Wing Festival in Groomsport, Co. Down.

Further local links span the centuries from the Declaration of Independence through to the D-Day landings.

The Atlantic may separate us, but this indelible connection keeps us closer than any ocean crossing. So... go out, explore, enjoy and celebrate the social history that runs deep through both our cultures.

To find out more about our US events and attractions, click on the red texts above or here.


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