March is renowned for St. Patrick’s Day, but what many people don’t realize is the entire month is dedicated to Irish American Heritage. This makes for a great time for you to connect to your own roots or learn about some of the immigrants that helped to make this country what it is today. A lot of people aren’t exactly sure how to go about this though. In fact, many feel that they need to pour money into ancestry tests and research. This isn’t the case though. No matter how Irish you feel you and your family are, you can easily celebrate National Irish American Heritage Month without breaking the bank. These ten ideas will help you get started on the fun.
1. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
One of the more obvious ways to embrace this month is to take part in St Patrick’s Day. You can do this in so many ways, so don’t let money get in the way of your celebrations. One of the more common ways to embrace the holiday is to go out and grab a pint of Guinness with friends. You can always bring drinks home to save money though, which will still make your celebration fun. You can also dress in all green as is the common tradition for the holiday. Another fun idea is to go clover hunting or look for rainbows. There are many celebrations to take part in on this day, too. You might even decide to brush up on your knowledge of St. Patrick.
2. Embrace Irish Cuisine
One of the best ways to embrace a culture is to bring its food into your home. It might be hard to find a traditional Irish restaurant in your area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace Irish cuisine. There are numerous recipes online to check out, so look around to see if you can find something you like. You can even find recipes that cater to dietary restrictions now, so don’t let your lifestyle choices get in the way of having fun with some old-fashioned Irish food. Some of the more common dishes to try are Irish Stew, Corned Beef, and a wide variety of options for dessert. You never know, you might find a dish that truly makes you fall in love.
3. Learn an Irish Dance
Dancing is a common form of entertainment for most cultures, and Irish culture is no exception. There are many dances that the culture is known for. River dancing is one of the most common dances, but you may find lots of other dances that are more modern and to your liking. No matter which dance you choose to learn, you will probably be able to find a free lesson on YouTube or other streaming devices. These dances tend to be great exercise too, which will allow you to become healthier as you celebrate a month of all things Irish and learn a fun, new dance.
4. Plant Something Native to Ireland
Ireland is known for its natural beauty, so if you’d like to celebrate this piece of the country then you might consider planting something that is native to Ireland. This might not be as hard as it sounds, as you will find lots of clovers, roses, ivy, and other plants in many garden centers around the country. However, before you plant anything, you might wait until you have had the time to do some research on the plant. It is important to figure out which plants can grow in your climate and which will work with your skill levels. If your climate isn’t doing you any favors, then you might see if any of the plants you admire can be grown inside, so you enjoy them on a daily basis.
5. Check out a Community Event
You will find a lot of community activities around St. Patrick’s Day, which will allow you to enjoy several celebrations and learn more about the holiday itself. However, there are other community events that take place in March. Generally, you will find Celtic fairs, festivals, and conventions that can help you learn a lot about Irish heritage and history. Many of these events will have games, music, food, and merchandise to help you connect with the culture all the more. Of course, you will probably find that you have to pay an entrance fee for these events, so make sure to budget before you get too excited about all of the fun.
6. Embrace Irish Media
Another great aspect of Irish culture, which often gets overlooked is its media. There are so many amazing books, movies, music, and more to check out. Thus, you might make March a time to dedicate your free time to learn more about Irish media, or even media created by Irish-Americans. There are numerous lists you can check out if you’re not sure where to begin your journey. Some streaming services will even have special categories to help you find the material you’re looking for. If you’re not sure where to look for items, or you want recommendations, then your local library can be of assistance too. Some libraries will even have items set aside for March, so all you have to do is walk in the door to find recommendations.
7. Research Heritage
If you’re not sure where your family comes from, then now might be a great time to research your family’s heritage. Even if you aren’t Irish, it will help you learn more about yourself and where you come from. There are many free ways to begin your journey, so you don’t have to invest money in anything right now. You can actually start by connecting yourself to free additions of ancestry websites. You might start by looking up the eldest relative you can think of. From there, you should be able to unlock a list of ancestors based on census reports and more. This will allow you to learn more about where you came from. You might even be able to figure out where you came from in Ireland, which could help you get more in touch with your Irish roots and hone in on customs from that specific area. Of course, you can invest money into research if you want to, as this might help you find more accurate answers.
8. Learn About Irish Immigration
Irish immigration played a major role in the foundation of the country. There have been a few waves of Irish immigration too, which will give you plenty of interesting things to research as you learn about when the main elements of Irish immigration occurred. There are many aspects of Irish immigration that don’t paint a pretty picture though, so you might be in store for some heartache as you read. However, you will also find many stories of strength and endurance that helped shape the nation into what it is today. There are many resources to check out if you’re interested in this topic, so take to the internet or your local library to discover a few.
9. Catch Up On Irish Culture
Culture, no matter what country you’re interested in, is always changing. There will always be a traditional foundation, but many things will help base the way a country operates. So, you might take some time in March to learn more about Irish culture. There are lots of big things happening in both Northern and Southern Ireland right now, so you might do a little research into the major headlines. Generally, the things going on in the countries will also affect their entertainment, so you can also catch up on new music, literature, TV, and more. There is public access to many of these things, so have a little fun diving into an unknown world and learning about the changes that are being made there.
10. Art Projects
If you want to get the whole family together to celebrate, then you might want to consider some art projects to add to the fun. You can make Irish flags, create clover art, or even make stories based around Irish folklore. If you’re looking for easy crafts, then there are plenty of color pages you can print to make it fun for kids to learn. You might even recreate some of the beautiful things Ireland has to offer like the stunning greenery or architecture that has watched history pass it by. Your creativity is the limit here, so don’t be shy.
Learning about and celebrating Irish heritage can be a lot of fun, even if you aren’t Irish. These ten ideas will allow you to fully embrace the fun of National Irish American Heritage month. With any luck, you will learn quite a bit, find yourself entertained for days, and embrace what it means to be Irish in America.