Two-hundred and forty-five years ago today, a group of courageous Americans signed The Declaration of Independence, setting our country on a path to the great democratic republic we have today. The achievement of American independence against all odds was an inspiration to millions of oppressed peoples around the world, and as so many Irish had served in the ranks of militias and the Continental Army, that inspiration was especially felt in the subjugated four provinces of Ireland. The international spreading of the republican ideals espoused by the Founding Fathers was due in no small part to the newspapers and pamphlets that dared to print what was considered seditious.
One-hundred and eighteen years ago John Devoy launched The Gaelic American newspaper with the tagline, “A Journal Dedicated to the Cause of Irish Independence, Irish Literature, and the Interests of the Irish Race.” The Gaelic American proved to be an important vehicle in disseminating information to Irish America, successfully raising the political awareness, cultural appreciation, and fraternalism of a divided people during a turbulent period. The seminal Easter Rising of 1916, when Ireland declared her right to sovereignty to the world, proved to be largely aided by the efforts of Devoy and Irish America as a whole, as expressed in The Proclamation, An Phoblacht na hEireann, “aided by her exiled children in America,” and accounts of the subsequent War of Independence that freed 26 counties in Ireland show that the service of Irish America continued. Indeed, it can be said with pride that Irish America continued to carry that torch in the campaign to free the six counties constituting Northern Ireland for the generations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Prudence dictates that, as has been done before us, it is the duty of the exiled children in America to stay current with relevant Irish news, to promote our native language and culture, to support attempts at unifying Irish America under a single banner, and to promote republican ideals – not the least of which being the freedom of speech. The Gaelic American will confront every topic with the simple view that all voices deserve to be heard, thereby remaining non-partisan in an era of hyper-partisanship. Irish Americans have reached the highest accolades across all professions, they have distinguished themselves as popular entertainers, and they have served with distinction in all circumstances. We look forward to highlighting these stories, and making us all proud to be Gaels living in America.