Ireland's relationship with the USA
A globally significant partnership built on shared values and aspirations.
More than any other nation, the United States has provided unstinting friendship and support throughout Ireland’s existence as a free and democratic state.
The relationship between our two countries is based not just on common ancestral ties but, crucially, on shared human values.
The Irish played a vital role in the American War of Independence. Three of the signatories to the 1776 Declaration of Independence were Irish born, and many others of Irish descent. The Declaration’s powerful assertions of rights and liberties is clearly echoed in the 1916 Proclamation of Irish Independence.
In Ireland’s troubled times, America provided refuge to millions of our people. Today, more than 30m Americans, 9% of the entire population claim Irish heritage.
The relationship is still growing. Ireland hosts a larger number of American ‘study abroad’ students than any other country – almost 12,000 every year. Close to 8,000 Irish citizens travel to the United States every year on exchange programmes.
Irish arts and artists
From Eugene O’Neill to Maureen O’Hara, from Sean Scully to U2, the imprint of Irish culture on American life has been immense. Eavan Boland, Seamus Heaney, Maeve Brennan, Colm Toibin, Colum McCann, Gabriel Byrne, Paul Muldoon, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill are just some whose craft was shaped by their connection with the United States.
Global development assistance
Ireland and United States bring the same values-driven approach to development assistance – prioritising human dignity by promoting security, economic opportunity and democracy. Irish Aid and USAID have worked together on strategically important development projects.
Peace and human development
Irish and American values are most vividly expressed in our shared commitment to multilateralism, deriving from a deep belief in the shared humanity of people everywhere, and the interdependence of all nations for security and human progress.
Today, Ireland and the United States are partners and colleagues at the United Nations as well multiple other international organisations that express our shared commitment to human development, peace and prosperity.
The Good Friday Agreement – a model for reconciliation
Throughout the difficult times of conflict followed by peacebuilding, America has been a steadfast friend to the entire island of Ireland.
In 2023, we celebrated the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement with our American friends who brought not just statecraft but also a deep understanding of the complexity of relationships on the island of Ireland.
For the United States, the Agreement is a pillar of foreign policy and an issue of bipartisan consensus.
The United States is a major goods exporter to Ireland but also Ireland’s top export destination. For America, Ireland is a strategic gateway to and a vital interlocutor with the other 26 member states of the European Union.
Ireland is the ninth largest source of foreign direct investment into the United States, with 700 Irish companies directly responsible for employing 110,000 Americans.
More than 900 US-owned firms have their European headquarters in Ireland, providing 180,000 jobs.