Irish Catholic"

Question from Murphy on 2/19/2008:  
I have occasionally seen this term used as a self-descriptor on this site, most recently in a post on February 18th entitled "Evangelize", when clearly the poster is an American. I understand that this is a cultural reference and that the person is of Irish extraction. But as a Catholic born and raised and living in Ireland - and therefore also an 'Irish Catholic' - I wonder what the term means in an American context. What nuance is being conveyed to the reader when an American says they are 'Irish Catholic'? And why is it used in preference to simply Catholic or Roman Catholic?
Answer by Richard Geraghty on 2/23/2008: 
Dear Murphy,

My folks were born on the other side and so I suppose they would say that they were just Catholics. But in a place like New York City their kids see all kinds of Catholic who are not Irish. They see all kinds of people who are not Catholic. So you put the two together and you have an Irish Catholics. I suppose the kids experience more diversity than the Irish did in the old days.

Dr. Geraghty

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