National Archives News

Irish American Heritage Month


Irish clam diggers in Boston, 1882

In March, during Irish American Heritage Month, the National Archives celebrates the contributions of Irish Americans in our nation’s history. 


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President Kennedy visits the Kennedy ancestral home in Dunganstown, Ireland, June 27, 1963. (Photo by Cecil Stoughton, Kennedy Library)

Arguably, the most famous Irish American in our holdings is President John F. Kennedy. Learn more about Kennedy and his life from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The library houses about 24 million pages of documents and over 15,000 sound recordings.

Read President Kennedy’s address to the Irish Parliament in 1963.


Articles and Blog Posts

AOTUS: The Forgotten Irish: Irish Emigrant Experiences in America

National Archives News: National Archives Digital Records Help Irish Author Write History Books

NARAtions: Stories From Our Holdings: Irish Researchers Study Civil War Records From the NARA/Fold3 Collaboration

Pieces of History: Robert F. Kennedy: Father of Modern American Liberalism

Pieces of History: The Binns Engraving of the Declaration of Independence

Pieces of History: Historic Staff Spotlight: Kathryn M. Murphy

Pieces of History: Exploring Irish History Through the Famine Files and Other Arrival Records

Pieces of History: Celebrating Irish Americans: The Fenian Brotherhood

Pieces of History: Taking It to the Stars: Eileen Collins, Space Shuttle Commander

Pieces of History: Facial Hair Friday: When Irish Mustaches Are Smiling

Prologue: Ireland’s Famine Children “Born at Sea”

Text Message: “An Act of Displeasure:” Reaction to the Possibility of a Woman Ambassador, 1951

Text Message: Decisions of the Board of Special Inquiry: The Story of Irish Immigrant Bridget Donaghy

Text Message: Ireland: The Easter Rising, 1916

Text Message: Ireland: The Easter Rising, 1916: Follow-Up on Eamon De Valera

Text Message: Irish American Heroes

The Unwritten Record: This Week in Universal News: NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 1967


History Hub LogoThe History Hub, a crowdsourced history research platform where experts can answer your questions, has many posts on Irish American history. The History Hub is an online support community for researchers, citizen historians, archival professionals, and open government advocates.


Image Gallery


Classroom Activities from DocsTech

Letter from Union Major General John Palmer to Adjutant General Concerning Irish Independence group called Fenians

Address by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Lackawanna County, Scranton, Pennsylvania March 17, 1964


From the Presidential Libraries

John F. Kennedy Library

Richard Nixon Library
Gerald R. Ford Library
Ronald Reagan Library


Research Aids

Immigration Records: The National Archives has immigration records for arrivals to the United States from foreign ports between approximately 1820 and 1982. The records are arranged by port of arrival.

Access to Archival Databases (AAD)

  • Famine Irish Passenger Record Data File (FIPAS), January 12, 1846–December 31, 1851
  • List of Ships that Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, January 12, 1846–December 31, 1851

Naturalization Records: Naturalization records can provide a researcher with information such as a person's birth date and location, occupation, immigration year, marital status and spouse information, witnesses' names and addresses, and more.

Military Records: The National Archives holds federal military service records from the Revolutionary War to 1912 in Washington, DC. Military records from World War I to the present are held in the National Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

Census Records: The first federal population census was taken in 1790 and has been taken every 10 years since.


Historian and archaeologist Damian Shiels researched Civil War pension records to craft the stories of 35 Irish families whose lives were emblematic of the nature of the Irish emigrant experience.