Rethinking the Irish in the American SouthBeyond Rounders and Reelers

Rethinking the Irish in the American SouthBeyond Rounders and Reelers

Bryan Albin Giemza

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617037986

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


Studies of the Irish presence in America have tended to look to the main corridors of emigration, and hence outside the American South. Yet the Irish constituted a significant minority in the region. Indeed, the Irish fascination expresses itself in Southern context in powerful, but disparate, registers: music, literature, and often, a sense of shared heritage. This book aims to create a thorough introduction to the subject, establishing new ground for areas of inquiry. The chapters here offer a revisionist critique of the Irish in the South, calling into question widely held understandings of how Irish culture was transmitted. The discussion ranges from Appalachian ballads, to Gone With the Wind, to the Irish rock band U2, to Atlantic-spanning literary friendships. Rather than seeing the Irish presence as “natural” or something completed in the past, these chapters posit a shifting, evolving, and unstable influence. Taken collectively, they offer a new framework for interpreting the Irish in the region. The implications extend to the interpretation of migration patterns, to the understanding of Irish diaspora, and the assimilation of immigrants and their ideas.

Table of Contents


Bryan Albin Giemza

I. Questions of Historical Definition

II. Manipulating Culture: Influence, Reconsidered

III. Ideology And Ambivalence

Coda Smoke ’N’ Guns

Conor O’callaghan

End Matter