CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Charleston has a rich Irish history that dates back to the founding of the Charles Towne colony.

The Irish have been here from the beginning and they have stayed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are roughly 38,607 of Irish descent living in Charleston County, which makes up about 9.6% of the population.

This interactive map illustrates the Irish population in each South Carolina county:

Here is a look at some of the ways Irish people have helped shape Charleston:

  1. Sullivan’s Island is named for Captain Florence O’Sullivan, an Irish soldier who was one of the original settlers of the Charles Towne colony in 1670. In1674, O’Sullivan was given the responsibility of manning the cannon on the island at the entrance to Charleston Harbor which began the island’s relationship with defense.

2. Irish-born architect James Hoban is credited with designing the Charleston County Courthouse and the William Seabrook House on Edisto Island. Hoban is best known as the architect of the White House and was one of the founding vestrymen of Saint Mary’s Church, the first Catholic church established in the Carolinas.

3. The Hibernian Society was established in 1801 to provide aid to Irish immigrants. The organization stemmed from two earlier Irish fraternal orders. Hibernian Hall, which was built in 1840, still stands on Meeting St and is listed as a National Historic Landmark for its use during the 1860 Charleston Convention.

4. The Irish Volunteers, a militia company from Charleston, was first on active service during the War of 1812 where they served on patrol and constructed defenses. Part of the 28th regiment of the South Carolina Militia, many were members of the Hibernian Society and served in the Seminole War and the Mexican War. During the Civil War, they became First Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers of the Confederate States of America Army. 

5. John England of Cork, Ireland was the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Charleston. Consecrated in 1820, he was the bishop of the diocese of Charleston which comprised of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. He also founded the nation’s first Roman Catholic newspaper which continued publication until the early 1860s. He is the namesake of Bishop England High School on Daniel Island.