Ireland has always had ties to the upper echelons of politics in the United States.
John F Kennedy, Tip O’Neil and even the current president Barack Obama all have ancestors from Ireland.
For current Congressman Brendan F. Boyle those roots are in Easkey in west Sligo and Donegal, and growing up in Philadelphia, he was acutely aware of his Irish heritage from an early age.
“My mom and both of her parents are from Easkey in Sligo and my dad was born and raised in County Donegal. As a result I have a lot of family in Sligo, Mayo and Donegal. Over the years I have visited here about four or five times and this is a great opportunity for me to get back and visit family.”
“The last time I was here was about four years ago. My brother decided to get married in Ireland and we decided to do the family wedding and have it just up the road in Donegal town,” the Congressman said.
For Congressman Boyle, the dual identity of both being Irish and American is a very important factor in his life.
“I am young for my profession but I grew up just before the internet so we relied on what was going on from Ireland through a weekly show that would air on CBS called ‘Out of Ireland’ and also weekly we would get the newspapers. I would read them from cover to cover.
“We were always aware of our roots, but also it was in our present because our family was going back and forth. Some cousins went back to live in Ireland and some who came to America and decided to live there.
“I grew up in Philadelphia beside my grandparents and all of the accents, with the exception of my mom, were all Irish accents. My grandparents were born and raised and married here in Sligo before going to America in their 20s,” he said.
To see the full interview with Congressman Brendan Boyle, pick up a copy of this week’s Sligo Weekender newspaper – in shops now.