Greetings Dave's Wife at a Work,
I too am in the NYC area. The earliest of my mother's family's emigration seems to be around the end of the eighteenth century. By the time I came around, the later nineteen fifties, there was little of direct memory in our family's lore. I am also part of perhaps the first generation that had another nationality mixed in with the Irish. Consequentially our family traditions were more American than anything else. I remember my maternal grandmother lamenting about the political and social struggles of the Irish during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as she was part of a predominately Irish community in the heights of Jersey City growing up, but we never sang songs about that as a child. I also remember discussions lamenting about No Irish Need Apply but again we didn't sing songs about that as a child either. I suppose that this was more a function of the mind set that children should not be exposed to the negative aspects of life. This was reserved for adult, or at the very least, later adolescent stages.
My learning more of my ancestral history has been an undertaking of mine of recent years although once "old enough" to understand I was indeed informed of the suffering of my ancestors but it was never addressed in such a way that I felt that the Irish were the only lot that suffered. Nor was the discussion of the suffering of my Irish ancestors offered in such a way that I felt compelled to dislike any nationality or ethnicity. I did learn to despise the actions of certain individuals in history but I was always raised to not condemn a nationality for the actions of some within that nationality.
East Durham is still a hot bed of Irish tradition and it is still referred to as the "Irish Riviera". Memorial Day weekend is still a big Irish culture celebratory weekend there and the Summer Irish Arts Week is still flourishing.
Great points about the historical suffering of many people. I agree that prevention of such for any peoples should be the message taken and promoted throughout the world. Reflection upon past injustices should serve to motivate all of us towards the prevention of future occurrences. However it should be the compassion of the people that serves as the motivation and the people themselves that work together to right the wrongs rather than the armies of the capitalists in their stead as the later only serves to fulfill the needs of the relatively few. I truly believe that if we all extended our hand in compassionate effort to help another and this philosophy was carried in the hearts of all around the world we will recreate and sustain Eden. This is indeed the one dream of mine that if it were to come to fruition I would with great pleasure abandon all others. I suspect I am not alone in this hope.