The Florida Irish

The Irish have been here in Florida for over 400 years.  The Irish came to Spanish “La Florida” in the 1500’s, first as missionary priests and mercenary soldiers in the employ of the King of Spain, and then as planters, traders, shop keepers, doctors and administrators.  Three of the “Spanish” Governors of “La Florida” were actually Irish military officers. Father Richard Arthur (a/k/a Padre Ricardo Artur), the parish priest of St. Augustine and ecclesiastical judge of “La Florida”, started the first public school in America before 1606 at St. Augustine – it was open to children of both sexes and all races!  Since that time, the Irish in Florida have played key roles in the history and heritage of this state.





15 responses to “The Florida Irish

  1. Charles Gould


    My name is Charles Gould from Tipperary, Ireland. I believe I have ancestors who arrived in the 1840s (during the famine) and were involved a lot with cattle and horses, cowboys effectively.

    Were there lots of Irish arriving in Florida during this time? Were many of them involved with livestock?

    Very many thanks in advance.



  2. beth

    Will help organize irish representation @ jax world of nationa 2013 seek help

    • I’d love to see some Irish representation at the 2015 World of Nations event in Jacksonville. I work for the Office of Special Events at the City of Jacksonville. I can put you in touch with the organizers.

    • Hi Beth,

      My name is Andrea and I work for the Office of Special Events for the City of Jacksonville. I am reaching out in regards to World of Nations 2015. We would love to have Ireland represented at our annual festival. Please contact me directly at 904-630-3629.

      Look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Gearoidin

    I’m looking for any Irish-language classes or groups or anyone interested in speaking, learning, or teaching Irish. I’m in the Tampa Bay area.

    • elaine

      Did u ever find the classes? I’m looking for an Irish area in Tampa..
      any suggestions?


        Why on earth am I getting this?

      • Elaine: very odd that I only just now got your message but it appears to be dated last October.

        I never found any Irish-language groups or interest over here. Very disappointing. I did find ONE amazing resource: a wonderful lady who speaks Irish very well, and we’ve met up a couple of times. Deirdre. Let me know if you want to chat directly.

    • Andrea McDonough

      Did you ever find any? I too am in the Tampa Bay Area (Brandon-Riverview) and was interested in taking clases.

  4. Jean Drivas

    The Dr. Phillips Relay for Life Event is on Saturday, April 12th at Chain of Lakes Middle School. We are searching for some on who pays the bag pipes that might be willing to play for about 15 minutes after our luminary ceremony which starts at 9pm.

  5. Shelly Jones

    I’m looking for any Irish language classes or anyone who is willing to learn with me. I’m in Orlando.

  6. Who were the 3 Irish Governors of Florida? I only know of a Governor of west Florida, Arturo O’Neill. Additionally, would you have any definitive information on where O’Neill was born? Was it Tyrone or Dublin? I’ve seen both! Also, I’ve seen three different years of his birth. Any help will be appreciated. Sincerely, Harry Dunleavy, Augusta, New Jersey 07822

  7. Jeff

    Hello, I’m looking for any sort of Irish community center, clubhouse, center, etc etc IN or NEAR Delray Beach, FL. The closer, the better. Any ideas?


  8. Fergal

    There is an Irish Language class at Tim Finnegans Pub
    2885 S Federal Hwy, Delray Beach, Florida 33483
    on Sundays at 3:00pm., and Tir na mBlath: Irish Cultural Organization of Southeast Florida holds events there. The organization is on Facebook (search Tír na mBláth). For the class, google
    Go n-éiri an t-ádh leat.

  9. Ursula

    Hi everyone
    I am looking to start Irish Dancing classes in the Delray/Jupiter/Stuart/Fort Lauderdale areas next summer for kids and a jig fit class for adults. I danced with Riverdance for 6 years and have been teaching and adjudicating Irish Dancing this past 15 years. Can anyone advise me on how to advertise as I will be coming from Ireland to teach for the summer or would anyone be interested.
    Thanks for any help

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s