Feb 21, 2011

American Presidents with Celtic Roots

Happy Presidents Day!
Most of the American presidents with Irish roots are Scots-Irish with ancestors who came over in the 17th and 18th centuries from Northern Ireland. These include:

  • Andrew Jackson whose parents were born in Carrickfergus in Co Antrim.
  • James Buchanan whose father was born in Ramelton in Co Donegal.
  • Ulysses Grant whose grandfather was from Dergenagh, Co. Tyrone. 
  • William McKinley had roots in Dervock in Co. Antrim.
  • Woodrow Wilson's grandfather was from  Dergelt, near Strabane in Co Tyrone.
  • Richard Nixon had ancestors from Ballymoney in Co Antrim and also from Carrickfergus in Co Antrim.
  • Bill Clinton's Irish roots are not as clear cut. He is said to have a distant cousin in Kinawley in Co Fermanagh.
  • The Bush presidents have roots from Rathfriland, Co Down as well as in Co Cork (in the Republic of Ireland) and possibly from Co Antrim as well.
President Obama with Brian Cowan, Taoiseach of Ireland*

Presidents with roots in the Republic of Ireland include:
  • James Polk, whose great grandfather came over from Lifford in Co Donegal.
  • John F. Kennedy with roots in Co Wexford and Bruff, Co Limerick and Kinawley, Co Cavan.
  • Ronald Reagan's great grandfather was from Ballyporeen in Co Tipperary.
  • President Barak Obama has ancestry from Moneygall in Co Offaly.
There are many other American patriots with Irish roots who were not president but who made significant contributions to our country including my husband's ancestor, Charles Thomson who was secretary of the Continential Congress and designed the Great Seal of the United States of America. The designer of the White House was James Hoban, from Desart, near Callan, County Kilkenny.

It's safe to say that Ireland paid an important part in the building of country.
Most of the information for this post came from this blog.
*Taoiseach of Ireland is the prime minister of the Republic of Ireland appointed by the President of Ireland.

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