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Irish-American Heritage Month: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide

History and Overview

The first recorded celebration of Irish-Americans in the United States dates back to 1762 with the first St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City. The parade became an annual event External, which was initially organized by military units. After the War of 1812, Irish fraternal societies took over the parade's organization.

In October 1990, Congress passed Public Law 101-418 (104 Stat. 906) establishing March 1991 as Irish-American Heritage Month. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush issued the first proclamation External designating March as Irish-American Heritage Month. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-253 (106 Stat. 70), which designated March of that year as Irish-American Heritage Month. Subsequently, Congress passed laws variously designating March 1993 and 1994 as Irish-American Heritage Month. In October 1994, Congress passed Public Law 103-379 (108 Stat. 3510), which designated March 1995 and 1996 as Irish-American Heritage Month. Since 1997, presidents have issued annual proclamations for the observance and celebration of Irish-American Heritage Month.