Ryan said 22 of 44 presidents in American history had some ancestral links to Ireland, most of them to Northern Ireland.
"In Ireland, we have a significantly diverse population, including people with a Presbyterian background who moved to Ireland from England in the late 17th century, especially to Northern Ireland."
Ryan said Scottish Presbyterians were "very independently minded. They had a great disrespect for government and were committed to religious freedom."
Today, Ireland has a 14.5 percent unemployment rate, a sharp drop from full employment in 2008, Ryan said.
U.S. investments have helped the Irish economy in recent years, according to a booklet recently published by Joseph P. Quinlan, a Wall Street economist, titled "The Irish-US Economic Relationship."
(The booklet is available at: http://www.amcham.ie/download/The%20Irish%20US%20Economic%20Relationship%202012.pdf.
Quinlan points out:
• The assets of U.S.-affiliated companies in Ireland rose by 645 percent between 2000 and 2009, from $106 billion to nearly $800 billion.
• Those affiliates added about 12,000 Irish workers to their payrolls in Ireland during those years.
• U.S. companies saw their profits in Ireland rise from $5.8 billion in 2000 to nearly $25 billion in 2009. The percentage of all U.S. European profits made in Ireland increased from 8.8 percent to 14.1 percent during those years.
Today, tourism is a massive business in Ireland. A country that has only 6 million residents hosts 8 million visitors annually, Ryan pointed out.
"We have a huge foreign banking sector. And Ireland is also a leading place in the world for aircraft leasing services. But domestically, we have never had a steel industry or an automotive industry."
Today, 40 percent of Ireland's population is under 25. "There has been a huge influx of people moving here recently. Our main resource is the people we have living here."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5614.