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Erin go Bragh, Y’all! How Irish is Virginia?

About one in 10 Virginians claim Irish ancestry, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s approximately the proportion for the nation as a whole.

But the statewide average is deceptive. In some Virginia communities, the proportion of residents with Irish roots is much higher—and in other communities, it’s non-existent.

For example, Nottoway Court House, in Southside Virginia, has a population of 78 people—and 45 of them are descended from Ireland, the Census Bureau estimates. In more than 30 communities, at least 20 percent of the residents trace their roots to Ireland.

At the other extreme, the bureau’s data indicate that more than 50 communities in the commonwealth may have no residents with ties to Ireland.

At the county level, Mathews and Fauquier counties have the highest percentage of residents with Irish ancestry—about 17 percent. Then come Bath and Clarke counties at around 16 percent. In contrast, about 2 percent ...

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