It’s the time of year to celebrate being, or aspiring to be, of Irish extraction. And in Arlington, there’s a higher percentage of those with forebears from Ireland than in the commonwealth as a whole.

Just over 27,000 Arlington residents, or 11.8 percent of U.S. Census population estimate for the county, can trace some Irish ancestry, according to new figures compiled by Capital News Service.

That puts Arlington ahead of the commonwealth as a whole, where the 790,000 Virginians with Irish in their background account for 9.5 percent of the state population.

The percentage of residents with Irish ancestry ranges from 2.6 percent in Petersburg to 16.5 percent in Rappahannock County, the report noted.

The Scots-Irish settled in the Shenandoah Valley during the great potato famine of the 1740s. According to historical research, many Scots-Irish sailed to Philadelphia and traveled down the Great Wagon Road to settle in Northern Virginia. They also became a dominant culture in the Appalachian Mountains, stretching from Georgia to Pennsylvania.

“Later on, the Scots-Irish worked in coal mines and railroads throughout the state and produced the energy needed to develop the Virginia we love today,” Capital News Service reports.


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