Celebrating Ireland and Irish-Americans
Most people know that St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 – thanks in large part to very green parades and other annual events. Originally, a religious celebration to honor the Catholic saint, St. Patrick, the day has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish-American (including our fascination with leprechauns and their lovely pots of gold). The New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is usually one of the biggest ones in the US. The first such parade (in 1762) actually featured Irish soldiers who served in the English military. COVID has put a damper on parades and other large celebrations in recent years, of course. But there are many ways to celebrate.
In his Proclamation this year, President Biden wrote, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Irish-American inventors and entrepreneurs who helped define America as the land of opportunity. Irish-American writers pollinated America’s literary landscape with their love of language and storytelling, while Irish lyricism has brought poetry, art, music, and dance to nourish our hearts and souls…”
In that spirit, we offer you this short list of films and courses – available right now for streaming, free with your library card* on Kanopy. Whether you are of Irish descent or you just happen to really enjoy green-colored food and drinks, we hope that you enjoy these films celebrating Ireland and Irish-Americans.
What to Watch
The President’s proclamation goes on to say, “From often humble beginnings, Irish Americans became the farmers, servants, miners, factory workers, and laborers who fed our Nation, kept our homes, and built our industry and infrastructure. They became the soldiers who won American independence, died to preserve our Union, and fought in every battle since to defend America and its values… The fabric of modern America is woven through with the green of the Emerald Isle. This month, we celebrate the sacrifices and contributions that generations of Irish Americans have made to build a better America.” Some of that is reflected in the above films and courses.
Congress designated March as Irish-American Heritage month in 1991. The President also issues a proclamation every year to mark the occasion. Fun fact: In 2019, the US Census estimated that roughly 10% of Americans can trace at least part of their lineage to Ireland/Irish ancestry.
*Did You Know?
You can enjoy 6 streaming credits a month on Kanopy. They have a large collection of independent and critically acclaimed films (including the Criterion Collection) and documentaries. They also have unlimited on-demand screenings of “The Great Courses” (from the world’s top instructors), and even a Kanopy Kids section with tons of PBS and other kids’ programs.