By Gerry Breen

The Fourth of July is celebrated by Americans everywhere as Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4th July, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Strangely enough, Ireland’s population was twice as big as America’s during the War for Independence. Today, the population of America is about sixty times greater than that of Ireland.

However, it is reckoned that forty million Americans are Irish or have Irish ancestors, and many people believe that the Irish have a lot of reasons for being allowed to share in the celebrations on the National Day of the United States. Here are just a few of them:
The Declaration of Independence was written in the hand of an Irish-born patriot, Charles Thomson. It was first read to the people, outside the hall where it was drafted by another native of Ireland, John Nixon. It was first printed by an Irish-born Philadephian, John Dunlap, and signed by at least three Americans of Irish birth.

At least eighteen presidents of the United States can claim Irish ancestry and an Irishman, James Hoban, who was born in Kilkenny, designed and built the White House. Hoban studied architecture in Dublin, and it is believed that he modelled the White House on Leinster House, now the home of Dáil Eireann.

The first American general to die during the War for Independence was an Irishman, Brigadier General Richard Montgomery, who was born near Swords, Co. Dublin, in December, 1738, and was educated in Trinity College, Dublin. He first served in the British Army, but later took up the American revolutionary cause.

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