The Irish have always held strong ties to their small island country in the North Atlantic. However, when famine and disease ravaged Ireland during the mid-19th century, millions left their country hoping to make a fresh start elsewhere. Traveling to the United States and Canada, the Irish faced many difficulties as they tried to build their new lives. Today, the descendants of Irish immigrants are among the largest ethnic groups in North America. Irish Americans have become great writers, powerful political figures, sports stars, and popular entertainers. This book looks at the contributions of the Irish Americans who have helped build Canada and the United States during the past two centuries.