The Irish Ancestry of U.S. Presidents

Map by Irish Political Maps

Shown above is the map of Ireland, and the country’s connection with the ancestry of some of the Presidents of the United States. 

Irish Political Maps notes that there have been 23 U.S. presidents who “have Irish or Ulster-Scots roots”. In this count, Grover Cleveland, who served two non-consecutive terms and is known as the 22nd and 24th president, is counted only once.

Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, was the first to claim Irish heritage. The latest president who has Irish roots is Joe Biden, the 45th person to serve the country’s highest elective post (listed chronologically as the 46th U.S. president).

Here is a list of the “Irish American presidents” indicated on the map whose heritage from Ireland is verified, listed in chronological order of their presidency, along with their political affiliation (e.g. D for Democrat; R for Republican) and the Irish town/s where their roots are from:

  • (7) Andrew Jackson (D) – Antrim
  • (11) James K. Polk (D) – Derry
  • (15) James Buchanan (D) – Donegal
  • (17) Andrew Johnson (D) – Antrim
  • (18) Ulysses S. Grant (R) – Tyrone
  • (21) Chester A. Arthur (R) – Antrim
  • (22/24) Grover Cleveland (D) – Antrim
  • (25) William McKinley (R) – Antrim
  • (26) Theodore Roosevelt (R) – Antrim
  • (27) William Howard Taft (R) – Louth
  • (28) Woodrow Wilson (D) – Tyrone
  • (35) John F. Kennedy (D) – Wexford & Limerick
  • (37) Richard Nixon (R) – Antrim & Kildare
  • (39) Jimmy Carter (D) – Antrim
  • (40) Ronald Reagan (R) – Tipperary
  • (41) George H. W. Bush (R) – Antrim
  • (42) Bill Clinton (D) – Fermanagh
  • (43) George W. Bush (R) – Antrim
  • (44) Barack Obama (D) – Offaly
  • (46) Joe Biden (D) – Mayo & Louth

The map’s data showed that ten U.S. presidents have roots from the town of Antrim, two each are from Tyrone and Louth, and one each in all other highlighted areas. Twelve counties are accounted for on this map.

There are also American commanders-in-chief who said they have roots from Ulster, but whose ancestors are unknown, and therefore are unmarked on the map. They are:

  • (23) Benjamin Harrison (R), served from 1889-1893
  • (29) Warren G. Harding (R), served from 1921-1923
  • (33) Harry S. Truman (D), served from 1945-1953

Overall, there are 12 Democratic presidents and 11 Republican leaders with Irish or Ulster-Scots heritage.

Want to know more about some of these presidents? Check out these books:

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