THE IRISH I WILL WRITE ABOUT IN THIS BOOK ART THE IRISH CATHO- lics, the approximately 5 percent of the American population who give their ethnic group as Irish (their national background is Irish) and their religious affiliation as Catholic. I exclude the marginally larger than 5 percent who are Irish Protestants for two reasons.
First, Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics in the United States have had very different cultural and historical experiences in American life, live in different geographic settings, and, in most respects, are very different from one another. It is also true that most of the prejudice, most of the controversy, and most of the belligerent self-hating responses have dealt with the Irish Catholics.
Second, I do not know enough about Irish Protestants to write intelligently about them. There exists little literature to guide research on them and there are no working hypotheses I can test. Somebody who knows more than I do about the subject or who can persuade an agency to fund research on Irish Protestants certainly ought to write a book about them.
Unless otherwise indicated, the terms the Irish, Irish Americans, Irish Otholics, and American Irish are used interchangeably throughout the book to mean Irish Catholic Americans.