David Doyle

In their global faiths as in their insular polities, the experiences of the Irish at home entailed a series of unstable 'identities' to ease relations with others. This was so despite their obligation of due deference to political authority, regardless of those exercising it. Into the 1950s Catholicism itself was seen by Catholics as the vital contribution the Irish brought to the United States. Mutual mistrust had largely kept Irish Catholics away from all British North America, but after 1783 this diminished in both the United States and in English-speaking areas of future Canada. If the Irish Catholic self-image in North America thus took only partial account of transatlantic realities, their strong sense of the interdependence of faith and ethnicity was well warranted before 1940. Isolation, cultural archaisms and then perception of long repression by Protestant England had given the Irish themselves a merited sense of singularity.

in Irish Catholic identities