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American Hillbilly Appalachian and Irish music and dance

       American Hillbilly Appalachian and Irish music and dance American Hillbilly Appalachian and Irish music and dance Information
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Clan Malley

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     American Hillbilly Appalachian and Irish music and dance

Many cultures, not least the first nations and African slaves and French and English and Spanish settlers went into the weave of people of the Appalachians and the American Hillbilly.

Ireland and the Irish had a major influence in America, if any one cultural or ethnic root from Europe is the essence of the American Hillbilly and westernised Appalachian culture, then it has to be the Irish.

But not the so called Scotch Irish.

I have studied dance for over a decade and major on Irish dance.
In the course of these studies, I have verified that there was no unique 17th or 18th century Protestant or even particularly Ulster exodus from Ireland.
I agree with others here about the exaggerated importance and effective invention of the so called Scotch Irish.

the widespread idea (propaganda) that the Irish only emigrated to America in number (or at all) was after the great hunger of 1845, is completely false .
Much like the misnomer of the word 'famine' for what actually happened in a Ireland of plenty of food!

the idea that only a group of supposed 'scots irish' left Ireland to go to America before the 19th Century is not just false but purposeful british nationalist and anti Irish myth and invention.


The real history of the Irish in the American Hillbilly and Appalachians.

During his exploration into what was then Western Virgina, Robert Fallon wrote in his journal that upon discovering the westward-tending valleys
"It was a pleasing tho' dreadful sight to see the mountains and hills piled one upon another"
Robert Fallon writing in September 13th in the year 1671

Fallon is a Irish Gaelic surname
Fallon is an Irish surname from the west of Ireland, Connaught, and refers to the clan name Ó Fallamháin or Ó Fallúin.
"Fallon" is also an Irish non-gender specific first name and means "leader" or "granddaughter/grandson of a rich king."


It is reported that several Irish people sailed with Christopher Columbus in 1492, history records his last stop before his epic was in the port of Galway, in the west of Ireland. Patrick Maguire from Ireland was the first crew member of Christopher Columbus’ to set foot on North American ground.

John Barry, a Tacumshane, County Wexford native, is known as “The Father of the American Navy.” Barry was appointed a Captain in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775. He and his crew beat the British in the final naval battle of the American Revolution off the coast of Cape Canaveral on March 10, 1783.
Irishmen ruled the waves

Mary Waters was a native of Dublin who was a prominent nurse in the United States forces during the American Revolutionary War. She migrated to Philadelphia in 1766.

Irish immigrants of this period participated in significant numbers in the American Revolution, leading one British major general to testify at the House of Commons that "half the rebel Continental Army were from Ireland"

Stephen Moylan from County Cork, settled in Philadelphia in 1768 to organize his own shipping firm. He was one of the organizers of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, an Irish-American fraternal organization, and served as its first president.
In January 1776, Moylan wrote a letter using the term "united States of America," the earliest known use of that phrase.

a few examples of many thousands of documented Irish in America before the 19th Century, among the many times more Irish in America for centuries who's names are now more obscured and often purposely so by past anti Irish racism.


Facts of historical records show the real history, that the Irish of all faiths and none went to America in the centuries before the mid 19th Century and the Irish did so in hundreds of thousands from all over Ireland.

Many Irish went to America without any great conviction in any religion, but were still most definitely Irish and from Ireland, the records show that they referred to themselves as Irish.
Most actually came to America from the South of Ireland, from Munster and Connacht and not as many believe(without any actual study) all from Ulster.

The records of the ships that took emigrants to the new world from Ireland in the 17th and 18th Centuries, show that most left from Southern Ports and the Irish immigrants joined on board there.
When ships sailed freely also from Ulster ports, logic suggests that few would voluntarily choose to walk hundred of miles to Southern Ports such as Cork.

Of course it is easy now to forget that the Catholic religion was a banned or proscribed religion in Ireland in these same periods, banned under English Colonial rule. Likewise the RC church was proscribed in many parts of the new America when under English Colonial rule.
So naturally many Irish emigrants would have had to lose any Catholic held faith in that new world. The colonies (not all) generally prohibited Catholic faith and any ministers of the RC faith, so no one could have properly worshipped, when there was no one to serve and preach and obviously no RC chapels were not to be found in most parts.

So naturally many Irish emigrants would eventually have had to conform to a new different religion.
The Irish (eventually) mainly became Baptists, a religion that has never been prominent in Ireland, proving people did adapt to circumstances.
The Irish also became Quakers and various other Non Roman Catholic as can be seen by very Irish Gaelic names such as Kearney (Obama's ancestor) and Will Ferrell. Both know and are proud that they are of Irish stock (not Scots Irish nonsense) but they are not of any recent RC connection.

edit
this was written in 2014 not that long after Obama referred to his recently verified Irish ancestors.
in Nov 2016 Obama presumably in a chancer attempt to cover all and be more 'native America than Donald trump" used "scots irish" to refer to his ancestors.
Obama only emphasises the ignorance and scots or scotch irish myth- remember this was a guy who referred for past few years to his Irish ancestors in Ireland and admitted he knew nothing about them growing up, in other words he was shown the evidence of a Kearney ancestor from Ireland.

Well Get this O'bama! Kearney no matter the spelling is Irish! zip all to do with scotch or scotch except via Irish and Ireland!
And just because Kearney was not on paper a roman catholic !!! well apart from the fact pre reformation for a thousand years all would have been roman catholic
Do read O'bama
thousands alive today are descended from the abused native Irish children who were converted into English/British protestants

The English William Penn a liberal man for the time, became a Quaker in Ireland and took with him hundreds of people from Cork to what would become Pennsylvania. Most all Irish who followed him became Quakers.

Meaning the Irish are Irish but not because of any one religion, as are those who have no religion.

Scots Irish is not real, does not credibly represent any distinct historical group, it was invented in 19th century because of basic prejudice.
Ulster Scots Irish is a simplistic sectarian mythical claim

Similar mass conversions of Irish people happened in what is now Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in Canada.

This also happened in Ireland but to a far lesser extent, most especially in Ulster, where many of a non catholic faith today, are not actually of any planted foreign stock, scot or other.
That reality explains the Irish Gaelic surnames of so many unionists and even among extreme loyalists, like McGrath and Murphy and McMullan and O'Neil of the Ulster Defence Association.
Many more Irish have corrupted surnames that disguise their Irish origin, their names having been altered to make them appear as being from England and not Irish.

We know that the Colonial Crown of England never did attempt a policy of mass evangelical conversion in Ireland. It must have suited the new Colonial landowners to have a underclass, and keep them distinct and second class, in order abuse and to perversely justify abusing!

Back to America where Many Irish speakers from Munster became Presbyterian en masse in Canada, as generally happened in a similar time period to the once Catholic and Irish speaking highlands of Scotland.

With no Priests in Canada, Irish speaking Presbyterian ministers filled a void, and human need for faith and hope, especially in a new environment.
These people were Irish and remain never the less ethnically and culturally from Ireland, and not from any border region of Scotland or particularly from Ulster.

And of course all Protestant religions come from a split from within the RC church. Martin Luther like Henry viii was a Roman Catholic, and so of course most all protestants are by definition of Catholic ancestry.

Likewise, Roman Catholic Christians and all non Catholic Christians are all descendants of more ancient Pagan Irish people.

Meaning that religion does not and never has credibly defined the Irish.

Those who think differently to this reality, may well want to imagine Protestants or Catholics as being some form of distinct people in direct line back to Noah.
Some clearly want to believe in nonsense about pure distinct 'Protestants' and equate Protestants to not being Irish. Some need to be believe, and be selectively ignorant because they need to believe in myths, in order to cherish and share in communal heirloom values built on myths and ignorance.

Still does not change the real story and reality of who they actually are in terms of ancestors. They are Irish, not Scotch Irish or British, both much later invented identities.

In context of such myths and ignorance, in a new world America where there was as much anti Irish racism as anti Catholicism, it is easier to at least understand why some of Irish ancestry even today in America have come to believe that they are scots or scotch Irish, or anglo saxon, somehow distinct and different.
This is because their great grandparents (and some ancestors before them) had been encouraged to lose their common Irish identity, and instead accept without question a myth to live in.

The Irish (and their twin the Highland Scot) had spoken in a different language to either Colonial French or English. They were encouraged to lose their language in America.

And so in context of this human reality, when many more Irish arrived in vast numbers after 1845, impoverished and often ill with hunger and disease, many speaking the old Irish language, it becomes easier to understand why many of the older Irish in America, started to distance themselves from the new Irish arrivals, even though they were kin.

The Irish already in America still mostly knew they were from Ireland, many (like Davy Crockett's family) still considered themselves Irish, but they did not want to be classed with these poorer still and often strange speaking newcomers.

Hence the so called scotch Irish and myths of distinction were invented.

Most Americans with connections to Ireland are of the same much older ethnic Irish Gaeilge (Gaelic) people, of Ireland.

The historical evidence is there to be studied, study of Irish history and Irish ethnic and cultural pointers, prove beyond any credible doubt that the essence of American Hillbilly Appalachian is Irish, not Scottish or supposed scots Irish.

The easiest way to see this older connection, and Irish connection is with the song and dance of the peoples.

Note both these videos were made decades ago, around the same time in the 1970's . Before the internet and technology enabled apparently plausible claims for any bias.

While anyone can recreate a claim for supposed connection, do so by words in print.
Unlike insistence real and credible connections need direct reference evidence.

First video is from America and Appalachian bluegrass, the second is from the south west of Ireland. Culturally they could hardly be any closer.

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The music and dance of a people, the live culture speaks more credibly than any historian can suggest in word or drawn image.

Outside of the very large Irish emigrant communities inside of England or Scotland, you will not find any such period videos that show such a connection to song and dance in either Scotland or England.

Try playing some of these videos at the same time, but turn down the volume on one as you listen or look at another, then swap.
See how they blend to reveal their Irish source.

Remember most Irish spoke only Irish up until the close of the 19th Century, so most Irish would have had to rely on the spelling of their surnames to English speaking officials, both in Ireland and America and beyond.
Many had their names changed after arrival in America, some of the more ignorant English officials would purposely change the Irish names and surnames to more English sounding names, to anglicise the Irish, so they would forget.
Cromwellian orders for the tens of thousands of Irish sent to the new world as slaves, was to make them English.

Remember that centuries later when the 19th Century Irish of the famine era coincided with mass education of children, once again some surnames were changed by the Irish themselves in attempt to distance themselves from these poorest of Irish newcomers.

Interestingly on a website someone also called Jarrell (like the man from Appalachia) in America, wanted to know why his family changed their name from Fitzgerald to Jarrell, and they clearly have not got a clue of the disguised Irish origin.
"In the mid 1800's in Delaware many names changed from Gerald or Fitzgerald to Jarrell and I would love to know why."

Fitzgerald is actually Norman French and Norse in ancient Origin, but distinctly Irish as that is where the name developed after the Norman settlements in 12th Century Ireland.
Intermarrying with the Irish, the Normans were the original more Irish than the Irish.

Ancient Irish Sean-nós song and dance from Ireland and the Irish is the key to true understanding the music and dance of the American Hillbilly and general Appalachian region and their very Irish roots.

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