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The improperly hypenated form of Irish American. Common.

Those people living in the United States of Irish ancestry or who define themselves as such.

Of interesting note is that these people, myself among them, often refer to themselves as "Irish," a point which certain people who live in Ireland find particularly irritating. Perhaps this is because it's true that Americans are not "a person from Ireland," that is, an Irish person, technically speaking.

These people are often fascinated with Irish History, Irish step dancing, Irish pub songs, Irish Slang, Guinness, the Irish Potato Famine, religion, and The Troubles.

There are forty million Americans of Irish descent. The population of Ireland is about three and a half million. Granted, many "Irish-Americans" are people whose Irish ancestors came over centuries ago, but there are still quite a few first, second, and third-generation Irish-Americans about. Which brings me to a revelation:

MANY IRISH-AMERICANS ARE LEGALLY IRISH... and might not even know it!

Irish law says that you're automatically a citizen of Ireland in any of the following cases:

  1. You were born there before 2005 and your parents were not diplomats
  2. You were born there in or after 2005, and:
    • One or both of your parents was an Irish citizen at the time OR
    • Your parents can prove that they were resident legally in Ireland for three out of the previous four years immediately before your birth.
  3. You have a biological parent who was born there
So if you're a first-generation Irish-American, you're actually Irish. Right now. Call up the consulate, show them your birth certificate, apply for a passport, and you've got proof that you're as Irish as Guinness and U2. Good stuff.

Now, if you have an Irish-born grandparent (in which case, technically speaking, you also have an Irish parent), you can ask the consulate to place you on the Foreign Births Registry. Once you're on the list, you're an Irish citizen, and you can get your passport.

Yes, dual citizenship is perfectly okay.

Why would you want to do this? There are a number of reasons:

  1. Ireland is in the European Union, so you can (a) take that Irish passport and live and work anywhere you damn well please between Lisbon and Espoo, (b) go on an extended ghetto college student-style tour of the Continent, and/or (c) use the EU passport lane whenever you're on a trip.
  2. If you want to travel to certain Axis of Evil countries, your American passport won't cut it.
  3. If you want to travel to certain other countries, your American passport will get you lynched.
  4. You can look really cool in your local bar on St. Patrick's Day.
  5. Ireland's universities are better than anything you'll get in America for a comparable price (although you have to stay in Europe for at least 3 years in order to establish residency and get the really good rates). You can also take advantage of cheaper health care and other state services.
By the way, if you happen to be an Irish-American who can claim citizenship, and have or are planning on having children, be sure to call the consulate and get them on the registry! They will thank you later.

See http://www.irelandemb.org/citizen.html for more on this topic.

Before I forget, there have been several Irish-American presidents of the United States of America: most recently Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and John F. Kennedy. And, of course, Eamon de Valera, the Republic of Ireland's first prime minister, was an Irish-American. We get around.

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