No doubt you know of Bishop Ireland's works.I am going to recap before I address your question, in case a future researcher is looking for the Bishop. A short biographical summary follows this history of his work with the I.C.C.O. I apologize for the duplication of information.
Let me preface this by saying that Bishop Ireland was responsible for the I.C.C.O. - the Irish Catholic Colinization Organization - primarily in MN, although two sites were tried in Nebraska.
Bishop Ireland brought this idea into reality, from a failed attempt 20 years earlier.In 1876, the first ICCO colony in Swift Co., MN, was begun.
The idea was to establish Catholic colonies/ areas throughout Minnesota.This practice differed from that of normal immigration practices, in that the immigrants would go to an area in which the land was already set aside, a church was in place with a Rev., [in this case, a Priest] and a school was established BEFORE the arrival of the immigrants.This was a very attractive idea.[I won't go into the details - if someone should need more info, please contact us.]
I am writing to you from Adrian, MN - considered to be the most successful of the colonies [although, by the early 1890s, the entire project was considered to be a failure].If Bishop Ireland was around today, he would be pleased because the colonies in this area are still predominantly Catholic. The Catholic school in Adrian was active until the early 1970s.
** There are some good books and articles on the ICCO.
Since your question dealt with Bishop Ireland's heritage, I will quote what I found in the "Encyclopedia Britannica, c. 1988 Vo. 6, page 380"
John Ireland Born September 11, 1838, Burnchurch, County Kilkenny, Ire. Died September 25, 1918, St. Paul, MN, USA
Ireland immigrated to the US with his parents in 1849, settling in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.
He was ordained a Priest at St. Paul in 1861.
In 1862 he became chaplain of the 5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, for the duration of the Civil War.
Fr. Ireland was rector of St. Paul Cathedral when he was appointed Bishop-coadutor in 1875.
He became Bishop in 1884, and ArchBishop in 1888.
Founder of the Catholic Colonization Burea / I.C.C.O.
In 1894 he founded the St. Paul Seminary."
A biography is listed "Life of Archbishop John Ireland" c1953, by James H. Moynihan.