Reminding again, that I’m half Irish and grew up hearing all the stories and believing every single one, I would differ a little with your statement that the Brit presence was not helpful in any way.
First of all, there were some Brits in Ireland who fled England during the Protestant ascendency there. Some of my Irish ancestors were of Norman derivation, but some were of English derivation. Both became fully Irish, but while some of them were in County Mayo which, even during the Famine was largely Gaelic-speaking, some were from the Pale (County Leix and County Offaly) and were English-speaking when and well before they fled Ireland to come here.
They brought a lot with them, both did, and as between the two, the ones from the Pale adapted more quickly. They were not only English-speaking, they were masters of the language, as most Irish now are. Nothing found here escaped their understanding and their comprehension. They even knew how the laws of England (which America adopted) worked. The fact that they realized the (English-derived) law here was more even-handed was one of the things they appreciated here.
They understood a lot about English technology because they saw it over there and worked with it. For goodness sake, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Irish-founded Catholic churches in the U.S. that are essentially English architecture.
And they famously understood English-derived politics the moment they set foot on this shore.
And all of that’s true with the Irish throughout the Anglosphere where, interestingly, they chose to largely emigrate to; not to Argentina, Brazil or the Philippines.
Yes, I know all about the Orange Order and the Black and Tans and the Lambeg Drum and “taking the soup” and the Famine and the grain ships that stood in the harbor at Dublin and Waterford. And I know, and don’t for a moment doubt the English reign was hard and cruel.
But it’s wrong to say the Irish did not benefit in any way whatever.
Of possibly passing interest, do you know the name of the only Hungarian classic opera in existence? It’s easy enough to google, (Hunyadi Lazlo) but not one person in a million in this world knows about it. Not in ten million. And while the music is beautiful, nobody understands the lyrics. I recall the complaint of Hungarian writers that nobody ever reads their works, no matter how good they might be. And why is that? It’s because virtually nobody outside Hungary knows Magyarul or cares to know. And if one knows only Magyarul, he can’t read Shakespeare or Chaucer or Swift or Johnson or even Tom Wolfe. And he would have no comprehension of the cultural background from which any of it arose. Irish do.