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'The Fenian Banner', 1866 (Library of Congress)

‘The Next War': The New York Irish-American Looks Towards John Bull, April 1865

150 years ago this month the American Civil War seemed on the verge of ending. The fall of Richmond on 3rd April appeared to have hammered a final nail in the coffin of the Confederate cause. When the New York Irish-American Weekly came out on Saturday 8th April, they printed a piece entitled ‘The End […]

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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with President Barack Obama in The White House (Wikipedia)

Selling ‘Ireland’ and Forgetting the ‘Irish’? Some Thoughts on the Taoiseach’s St. Patrick’s Day Speech

This week Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, visited America for St. Patrick’s Day. Each March, our small country enjoys exceptional treatment on the other side of the Atlantic, treatment which includes a meeting with the President of the United States at The White House. Ireland’s relationship with the U.S. is the envy of other small countries. […]

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The 1862 'Tiffany' Color of the 69th New York, Presented by President Kennedy to the Irish People in 1963

How Many Irish Fought in the American Civil War?

As I have often noted on this site, the American Civil War is the only conflict in the Irish experience which compares with World War One in terms of scale. But just how many Irish served during the conflict? Relatively little detailed modern research has taken place to establish this, and it is undoubtedly a […]

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026-gangs-of-new-york-theredlist

Gangs of New York: Recruiting the Irish ‘Straight Off the Boat’

One of the best known scenes in Martin Scorcese’s 2002 movie Gangs of New York is that which depicts the enlistment of Irish emigrants ‘straight off the boat’ into the Union army. The seemingly unsuspecting men are quickly dressed in uniform and packed off for the front, even as those unfortunates who have gone before are brought […]

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Former slaves in Beaufort, South Carolina shortly after Emancipation (Library of Congress)

In Bondage to the Irish: Slave Ownership Among Irish Confederate Officers

A total of sixteen Irish-born men reached the rank of either Colonel or General in the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. What was these men’s relationship with and investment in slavery, if any? The most famous slavery-related incident involving an Irish Confederate officer was Major-General Patrick Cleburne’s 1864 proposal to arm the slaves. Cleburne […]

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Captain Robert Halpin from Co. Wicklow was commemorated in a series of famous mariner stamps by An Post in 2003. Although most famous forr laying telegraphic cables, he was also a blockade runner in the American Civil War

Has Ireland Missed the Last Opportunity to Remember Her American Civil War Dead?

Last year we had an appeal on the site asking readers to consider proposing Irish involvement in the American Civil War as an appropriate topic to be covered in An Post’s (the Irish postal service) 2015 stamp programme. A number of you did so. An Post were in touch last week to say that the […]

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Lieutenant-General Phil Sheridan (Library of Congress)

How ‘Irish’ was Phil Sheridan?

I have had the good fortune to speak about the Irish in the American Civil War in many different parts of Ireland. When it comes to question-time, there is one topic that is almost always guaranteed to come up- General Phil Sheridan. This is unsurprising given his leading role as one of the key players […]

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Custer marching towards the Washita, 1868 (Library of Congress)

Worthy of Study? Worthy of Remembrance? The Irish Killed at the Washita and Wounded Knee

I have been thinking quite a lot recently about the type of historic events we choose to explore (and in some cases commemorate). This was spurred by the recent laying of a wreath by the Irish President Michael D. Higgins to the memory of the San Patricios, the largely Irish group who deserted from the […]

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Irish Emigrants Leaving for America from Caherciveen, Co. Kerry, 1866 (New York Public Library Image ID 833634)

Diaspora Disregarded? How Ireland is Failing Her Emigrants Memory

Ireland as a country appears outwardly very proud of her diaspora. This is enshrined in our constitution- Article 2 tells us that ‘the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.’ In my view Ireland currently falls far short of this aspiration and […]

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Father Corby at Gettysburg (Memoirs of Chaplain Life)

Irish Examiner Feature: Remembering the Irish Lost at Gettysburg

As many regular readers of the site will know I have been campaigning for some time (along with colleagues) to see greater recognition in Ireland of the cost of the American Civil War to the Irish community. It was the second biggest conflict in terms of numbers in which Irishmen served in uniform, yet we […]

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