By: Ben Knollman
One of the more positive impacts that the Irish Diaspora had on society was the global spread of Irish heritage and culture. With over 34 million Americans currently claiming Irish ancestry, the effects of Irish emigration remain clear to be seen. Looking at a dispersion of this magnitude, it is interesting to look at not only the spread of people with Irish heritage, but also the spread of Irish culture, ideals, and art throughout the world. One of the forms of Irish art that has gained some popularity in the United States over the past few decades is theater. The works of famous Irish playwrights such as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, and Brian Friel are being performed more frequently in Irish-American theaters. Visual and performing arts have always been a method of identifying and conveying one’s culture. Irish-American theaters seek to continue this tradition by bringing the culture of Ireland onto American stages. An article posted by the American Planning Association suggests that “Arts and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity — the unique meaning, value, and character — of the physical and social form of a community.” The impact that art and culture have on a community of Irish-Americans become more apparent as they gain popularity.