Being part Irish, I grew up believing that the rest of the world was Irish too – or at least wanted to be.

"Danny Boy," to me, was the most sacred song in the world. It played at family weddings, funerals, and whenever the clan gathered and consumed a pint or two.

The adults in the room rose to salute when "A Nation Once Again" or some other song of the Irish Rebellion came on the radio or phonograph. My parents listened to Irish music programs from Boston on the radio.

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In my family, boiled dinners and Irish soda bread were not just for St. Patrick's Day but a part of the Irish-American diet.

Massachusetts Is The Second Most Irish State In The Nation
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As I grew older, I realized there were Portuguese kids, Greeks, French, Polish, Cape Verdeans and others in New Bedford in addition to the Irish.

When Irish pubs became the rage in the 1980s in New Bedford and throughout the region, my belief that everyone was at least a wee bit Irish – or wanted to be – was reinforced.

I am heartened to learn that Massachusetts is almost as Irish as it gets. In fact, Massachusetts is second only to New Hampshire in the percentage of residents of Irish ancestry.

Massachusetts Is The Second Most Irish State In The Nation
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According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 20.2 percent (272,613) of New Hampshire's 1.3 million residents are of Irish ancestry. In Massachusetts, 19.8 percent (1,354,176) of the roughly 6.8 million residents are of Irish ancestry.

Rhode Island is third with 17.6 percent, followed by Vermont at 17 percent and Maine at 16.6 percent.

The five states with the highest population of residents of Irish ancestry are right here in New England. Who'd have thought it?

Well, maybe I did. says Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Montana, and New Jersey round out the top 10.

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