St. Patrick’s Day–Irish Mexican Heritage in the Southwest

Today many of us are Irish wannabes. Your version of mixing the cultures might mean something like a green burrito. Or it may go much deeper. Do you have family roots that grew out of the Emerald Isle? You’d be surprised at how far the web of cultural intermingling extends.


There are many historical links between Mexico and Ireland, often leading to marriages and families founded as a friendly cross cultural partnership here in the southwest.  As comedian Brian Regan likes to tease, “and one thing led to another….” I’ve met several families here in southern New Mexico proud of their shared heritage.


Take a look at these excerpts from an excellent article from the Houston Institute for Culture

By Rose Mary Salum


“Another prominent Irishman who had a hand in Mexican politics was Dublin-born Hugh O’Connor, who moved to Nueva España to escape the harsh conditions that reigned in Ireland at that time. In his adopted homeland, he became one of the most notable bureaucrats, taking office as governor of the region of Texas and commander of the northern frontier. He was also the founder of the town now known as Tucson, Arizona. In the 18th century, several bureaucrats and officers who represented Spain in Mexico were either Irish, or of Irish descent. O’Connor was one of the most important and distinguished.”

“The Irish division was known as Los San Patricios, or “Those of Saint Patrick.” It participated in all the major battles of the war and was cited for bravery by General López de Santa Anna, the Mexican Commander in Chief and President.”

Salum points out:

“The Irish in Mexico have an honorable reputation and a respectable legacy. To this day, an Irishman will be told countless times about the famous “Irish martyrs” who defected from the U.S. Army and gave their lives trying to save Mexico from U.S. aggression.”


So, on this St. Patrick’s Day 2018, as you honor the remarkable, real Patrick, born in 385 A.D. (original name Maewyn Succat), may you be inspired to toast your Irish and Mexican ancestors alike.

Let me know what Bit o’ the Irish you found in your heritage.

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    Karen Ray

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