Most of Henry Ford's ancestors left Ireland in the early 1800s. Ford's grandfather, John Ford, and father, William Ford, were among the U.S. immigrants from Cork, Ireland, in 1847. Henry Ford, born in 1863 in what is now Dearborn, Mich., grew up with a curiosity for machines amid Detroit's industrial boom.
Henry Ford's heritage influenced even his early automobile business decisions. He selected Cork as the site for his company's first purpose-built factory outside the U.S. in 1917.
Much of the Cork factory was dedicated to Ford tractor production. The last Model T ever built, Ford's most iconic contribution to the auto industry, came from the Cork factory's production line in 1928. Other vehicles built at the plant were the Model A, Model BF, Model Y, Prefect, Anglia, Escort, Cortina and Sierra.
Though the company name has since officially changed from Henry Ford & Son, it still uses that moniker in Ireland — the only place in the world it does so.
Ford also has the biggest network of dealers of any automotive manufacturer in Ireland, the company said in a statement, with 52 dealerships across the country. Bill Ford, a great-grandson of Henry Ford, celebrated the company's centennial in Ireland last year.
"Ford has deep roots in Cork, not only through my family's historical connection, but also through the impact that the Ford factory has had as an engine for prosperity for the area over many decades," Bill Ford said in a statement during the family's travels to Ireland last April.