Special Relationship

The Real US “Special Relationship” Is with Ireland

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When we think of the term “special relationship,” the immediate association is often between the United States and the United Kingdom. Indeed, the transatlantic bond between these two nations is a cornerstone of international diplomacy, rooted in shared history, values, and strategic collaboration. However, there exists another special relationship that is equally significant, yet often overlooked – the enduring and profound connection between the United States and Ireland. This article delves into the historical, cultural, and diplomatic ties that have shaped the real special relationship between the US and Ireland, asserting that this bond has existed throughout history and continues to flourish to this day.

Historical Ties

To truly comprehend the depth of the US-Ireland special relationship, one must delve into the historical tapestry that has woven these two nations together. Ireland’s story of immigration to the United States is one of the most compelling chapters in this relationship. Waves of Irish immigrants arrived on American shores, seeking refuge from famine, poverty, and political turmoil. The Irish diaspora, now numbering millions, has played a pivotal role in shaping American society, culture, and politics. This shared migration experience has forged a unique kinship between the two nations, a connection that transcends time and distance.

Cultural Affinities

Beyond historical ties, cultural affinities have further solidified the special relationship between the US and Ireland. The Irish literary tradition, with luminaries like James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Samuel Beckett, has captivated American audiences and fostered a literary dialogue that resonates to this day. Moreover, Irish music, dance, and folklore have found a welcoming home in the United States, contributing to the rich tapestry of American cultural diversity. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, which have become a global phenomenon, are a testament to the enduring cultural exchanges between the two nations.

Shared Values

Central to the US-Ireland special relationship are the shared values of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Both nations emerged from struggles for independence and self-determination, with their respective journeys inspiring mutual admiration. The United States has consistently supported Ireland’s pursuit of peace and reconciliation, particularly during the tumultuous times of the Northern Ireland conflict. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought an end to decades of violence, was underpinned by US diplomacy and engagement. This commitment to peace exemplifies the genuine nature of the special relationship.

Diplomatic Cooperation

Diplomatically, the US and Ireland have collaborated on various fronts, further cementing their special relationship. The two nations are members of international organizations such as the United Nations, where they share common positions on global issues ranging from climate change to human rights. Trade and economic ties have also deepened over the years, with Irish-American business networks playing a pivotal role in fostering economic growth in both countries. The presence of American multinational corporations in Ireland and the reciprocation of Irish investment in the US underscores the economic interdependence that characterizes the relationship.

Modern Relevance

The US-Ireland special relationship continues to be relevant in the modern geopolitical landscape. While the transatlantic alliance with the United Kingdom remains strong, the ties with Ireland offer a different perspective and dimension. As the world grapples with new challenges, such as the digital age and cybersecurity, the two nations find themselves collaborating in increasingly innovative ways. Their partnership extends beyond security and economics, encompassing areas like research, technology, and entrepreneurship.


In conclusion, the real special relationship between the United States and Ireland is a testament to the enduring power of history, culture, and shared values. While the US-UK alliance is often highlighted, the bond between the US and Ireland has always existed and continues to thrive. Historical ties, cultural affinities, shared values, and diplomatic cooperation have all contributed to this remarkable connection. From the waves of Irish immigrants seeking a better life to the modern era of international cooperation, the US-Ireland special relationship remains a cornerstone of both nations’ identities. As we navigate an ever-changing world, it is crucial to recognize and celebrate the multifaceted nature of international relationships, acknowledging that sometimes the most special bonds are the ones that might not always be in the spotlight.

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