Failte Irish American Hall of Fame

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Birth of a Nation

Revolutionary War Heroes

Commodore John BarryIrish influence was also found in the military.  Perhaps one of the most important, but often overlooked, military figures was Commodore John Barry.  Known as the father of the American Navy, Barry was born in 1745 in County Wexford, Ireland.  Barry made many significant contributions to the war for America’s independence.  He was the first to capture a British war vessel on the high seas.  He fought on land at the Battle of Trenton and Princeton and he fought the last naval battle of the American Revolution on the frigate Alliance in 1783. 
As a new country was born, the Irish along with fellow immigrants from many European countries put their mark on the idea of America.  While only a few are mentioned here, many more fought in the American Revolution, created new families, built businesses and sought new opportunities as the push for westward expansion began.   Check back often for more information on the influence of the Irish on the formation of the United States of America. 
Do you have a favorite Irish-American that made a mark on the birth of the U.S.?  Send us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  We might select your favorite Irish-American for a feature story.

The Declaration of Independence

Charles CarrollEight signers of the Declaration of Independence could claim Irish roots, including three born in Ireland.  James Smith was born in Ulster in 1719 and died in the U.S. in 1806.  He was a lawyer and a member of the Continental Congress from 1776-1778.  Matthew Thornton was born in Ireland 1714.  He was a member of the Continental Congress in 1776 and a colonel in the New Hampshire Militia.  George Taylor was born in Ireland in 1716.  He operated an iron manufacturing business in Pennsylvania and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1776 to 1777.  Other signers of Irish ancestry included George Read of Delaware, Charles Carroll of Maryland, Thomas Lynch, Jr. of South Carolina, Thomas McKean of Pennsylvania, and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina.

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