Iowa's Irish Heritage

Mar 13, 2019

This Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, a day when everybody is at least a little bit Irish, but there are many Iowans who have genuine Irish heritage. The Irish are the second largest immigrant group in Iowa history, and many Iowans with Irish roots take pride in their heritage, and the hardships their ancestors overcame.

On this hour of talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe sits down with historian and author of Irish Iowa, Timothy Walch, and proud Irish Iowan Ken Donnelly, to discuss how the Irish shaped Iowa's infrastructure and culture. 

There were many factors that brought the Irish to America, and specifically Iowa. Many Irish were fleeing famine and poverty, and 'the lure of the land', as Walch puts it, drew many Irish to Iowa. "These were people who came to this country, who were risk-takers, they had aspirations and goals, and so that ambition is what drove them West."