Welcome to Michigan Irish History

The Irish American Club of Mid Michigan is hosting it's annual

Christmas Open House at the Turner Dodge House, 100 E North St, Lansing, Michigan, December 13, Sunday, 2009, from 1pm to 330 pm.     Admission is free, although donations are welcome.     Featured will be the Renaissance Singers, Christmas cookies, treats and live Irish Music.

Click here for a sampling of 16th Century music of the Renaissance Singers 

call 800-743-9457 for details or visit the club website at:


These Irish immigrant children in this 1864 tintype from Lansing, Michigan were brave pioneers in every sense of the word. They had reason for looking sober and apprehensive. To their neighbors everything about them was peculiar: their accents, their clothing, their customs and their beliefs. Because their fathers were ULSTER-men (Presbyterians and Congregationalists) from the north of Ireland, they would rarely mingle with their fellow Irishmen who were Catholic. They gravitated to the remote pine forests of northern Michigan which reminded them of the pine forests of Derry in Ireland. Their warmest welcome often came from the native indians of michigan who likely understood their plight.


While the Irish migration histories of Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago are well chronicled,  much research has yet to be done on the Irish of Michigan.  This website is dedicated to the hope that the school age children of Michigan  will explore family stories, oral traditions, recipes, and music.   They might  interview relatives and submit their research to be published on this site as a data base for further research.  It is hoped that a tradition can begin in Michigan public schools each March to explore this rich and important culture and its impact on the building of this state. 

Wexford, Roscommon, Clare, Antrim and Emmet counties of Michigan were named after counties in Ireland.  Corktown, the oldest surviving neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was well known in the 18th Century.   By 1850 half of the residents of the 8th Ward were of Irish decent.    The majority of the inhabitants were from County Cork, Ireland, hence the name.   This dynamic, active Irish community is well represented at the website http://www.detroitirish.org


There are however, in Michigan, many other centers of Irish settlement, Claire, Sheppard, Hubbardston, and even Mackinaw Island with settlement as early as the 17th century.    The famed Dougherty House (http://www.gtherald.com/herald/2005/may/25house.htm) built by Presbyterian minister Peter Dougherty at Traverse City, Michigan as an Indian School and Mission in 1839 stands as a national historic landmark today.

The City of East Lansing boasts that 12% of the population traces their roots to Ireland which is remarkable in such a diverse, international university town.


There are many active Irish organizations in mid Michigan such as

the Irish American Club of Mid Michigan:

February's Irish American Club social meeting will be a potluck at 6pm

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 at the Letts Community Center, 1220 W Kalamazoo, Lansing , MI



Starting in January, 2009
Pierce Kent will begin Irish Language Classes on Monday nights at  630pm
and will be teaching Irish History Classes Monday nights at 7pm at

Plymouth Congregational Church

2001 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48912-3286

Phone: 517-484-9495

or call Bill Draper at 3514632

If you are thinking of joining please come.

   You dont have to be Irish but share a love of things Irish.

Click Here to View the results of the "Fling Kids" Dart Team in Action


Irish American Club of Mid Michigan

(http://irishmidmich.org/)., which sponsors St. Patrick's parties, concerts, events, and historical evenings such as the recent Christmas Party at Lansing's Dodge Turner House as these slides illustrate.  Their 2008 Christmas Event featured the Renaissance Singers performing 16th Century Madrigals including the works of Irish born composer John Dowland.


Pictures from a previous IAC Annual Christmas Open House is

Sunday, December 14th from 2 to 4 pm

at the Turner Dodge House, 100 E North St, Lansing

Music, food and libations, and shopping with Bridget Gallagher's Irish Treasures.

Click here for a sampling of 16th Century music of the Renaissance Singers

Free DHTML scripts provided by
Dynamic Drive


Pictures from the March 2006 Party.      Details: http://irishmidmich.org/


The Great Lakes Feis (http://greatlakesfeis.org/) sponsors Irish dance competitions each year at the Lansing Center drawing over 1200 competitors from all over the US and Canada.  Celtic traditions are kept vibrant at the Heinzman School of Irish Dance (http://www.heinzmanschool.com ) with studio in South Lansing and by Peggy Murphy's Irish Dance Troop of Lansing, Glen Erin Pipe Band (http://my.voyager.net/callan/glenerin/gehome.htm )  and the Robert Burns Celebration in East Lansing, .    Downtown Grand Ledge hosts its Saint Patrick's Day celebration-- http://glstpats.org.


Individual local family stories of migration, exploration and settlement will be cataloged here for further research.



If you have any questions please contact: Bill Draper --email: meademaven@hotmail.com or phone 517-351-4632

Bibliography and Research Base