This following is a guest blog by my love, Dennis. Official information can be found at http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=267
I was recently granted dual Irish/American citizenship, so this Saint Patrick's Day was somewhat special for me. There aren't any real benefits of this, especially since Ireland is in severe economic trouble. But I am a sentimental guy and that's why I applied for citizenship via descent from my grandfather, Dennis Kelly - he's as Irish as Patty's pig!
For those interested, Irish citizenship has easier regulations than some other countries and does not require that you renounce your current US citizenship - so you can get dual/multiple citizenship.
It does require an ancestor no further back than grandparent be an Irish citizen. Your grandfather's father is too far back, unless your grandfather was born in Ireland and came here as a child.
The process is simple, but tedious - you have to document every step in your lineage back to Ireland. In my case, that meant:
o grandfather's birth certificate
o grandfather's death certificate (or copy of driver's license if still alive)
o grandparents marriage certificate
o mother's birth certificate
o copy of mother's driver's license (or death certificate if deceased)
o parent's marriage license
o my birth certificate
o copy of my driver's license
o utility bills in my name/address
o statement from a public official: policeman, bank president, judge, doctor, etc
Government documents have to be originals or state-issued copies with raised seals.
It took a lot of time to obtain the necessary documents. Then, after 14 months of waiting, the envelope from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs arrived. I opened the envelope with some trepidation. I was unable to finish the first sentence of the cover letter. My eyes were kinda wet.
To all those of Irish descent - whether or not you have official citizenship - May Ireland always be in your heart and may she always bring you blessings. To everybody else - on St. Patrick's Day consider yourselves Irish for the day - a brave, honorable, hard-working people - but also stubborn and willing to fight for their beliefs. It is a powerful combination.