Some years ago, I was frustrated that no credit was ever given to the achievements of the Irish apart from a talent for talking and drinking. As I said to a boss I had in London ca.1978 ‘not all of us-not all the time’.
As for charming and friendly Irish- I was never sure it applied in general.
ca. 2005. I was curiously filled with a strain of ‘nationalitis’; no doubt a reaction to 4 decades of hearing the stereotypical British view of us. It was an affliction where pride in ones country was overpowering. I felt compelled to research all the forgotten if ever remembered ‘world figures’ who regard or were entitled to call Ireland their homeland.
Currently our ‘greatness’ is still our global export of people but my patriotic fervour has been dimmed by the realisation that we or some of us were not only stupid, but criminally stupid.
Howandever, ca.2005, I wrote about my pride in an Irish ‘type’ that was common in the generations of my parents and grand-parents and great grand-parents back further into an ancestral and mystic past (but not mythical)
Please overlook the poor standard of writing (cut and paste) as I hastily typed a defence of our national character. I was naive! I have since reverted to the view that a country is a piece of land that keeps you from falling into water.
by Kentaro Nagai.
If it were not for the Irish gene-thousands who came to be cultural icons on a global scale would literally ‘not be’
There wouldn’t have been a Che Guevara, whose father declared ” in my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels”.
Diametrically in a political and cultural sense….
John F Kennedy closed a speech at the US Naval Academy.”
It is with that in mind that I see such profound linkages to our early
naval traditions of tenacity and the ability to overcome adversity. Let me
close with an Irish toast that often comes to mind at the end of a long day
in Washington ? “May the devil chase you every day of your life and never
catch you.” As I always mentally add to that toast, if the devil isn’t at
least chasing you, you’re probably not doing it right? and you’re probably
not Irish. Thank you and Erin Go Braugh! ”
At Shannon airport in 1963 JFK invited the Irish to visit DC, and the White House.
The 7 year old who momentarily saw him from a distance in 1963 would more by happenstance than design, visit the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the Capitol Building, and indeed for a second time the Pentagon four decades later.
On War and …
From as long as I can remember UK publications and most broadcast media have significantly circumvented any reference to ‘Irishness ‘when the subject is of a heroic nature.
The commemorative reportage of World Wars have continually overlooked
contributions from citizens of Ireland (even when other countries are deservedly
One of the greatest air aces serving with the
RAF during WW2 was ace spitfire pilot Patrick(Paddy) Finnucane, a Limerickman.
It is invidious to make comparisons in matters of such gravitas, but in the interest of balance and enlightenment it should be noted that per capita of population, the Irish (South/North ) have had more Victoria Cross honours than any other nation or country; and in numbers alone are second only to their English ‘comrades’.
Doubters may check the records.
English 614. Irish 190 awards. (South/North combined).
IRISH RECIPIENTS(SOUTH AND NORTH)of the Victoria Cross
Notwithstanding misplaced heroism
Crimean War (1854 – 1856) 111 awards
Persian War (1856 – 1857) 3 awards
Indian Mutiny (1857 – 1859) 182 awards
Taranaki Maori War, New Zealand (1860 – 1861) 2 awards
Third China War (1860 – 1862) 7 awards
Umbeyla Campaign (1863) 2 awards
Shimonoseki Expedition, Japan (1864) 3 awards
T’ai P’ing Rebellion (1851 – 1864) 1 award
Bhutan War (1864 – 1865) 2 awards
Canada (1866) 1 award
The Gambia (1866) 1 award
Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand (1863 – 1866) 13 awards
Andaman Islands Expedition (1867) 5 awards
Abyssinia Expedition (1867 – 1868) 2 awards
Looshai Expedition, India (1872) 1 award
First Ashanti Expedition (1873 – 1874) 4 awards
Malaya (1875 – 1876) 1 award
Baluchistan (1877) 1 award
Ninth Cape Frontier War (1877 – 1878) 1 award
Zulu War (1879) 23 awards
Second Afghan War (1878 – 1880) 16 awards
Second Naga Hills Expedition (1879 – 1880) 1 award
First Boer War (1880 – 1881) 6 awards
Basuto War (1879 – 1882) 6 awards
Occupation of Egypt (1882) 3 awards
Sudan (1881 – 1885) 4 awards
Chin Field Force, Burma (1889) 1 award
Karen-Ni Expedition, Burma (1888 – 1889) 1 award
Hunza-Naga Campaign, India (1891) 3 awards
Manipur Expedition, India (1891) 1 award
The Gambia (2nd) (1892) 1 award
Kachin Hills Expedition, Burma (1892 – 1893) 1 award
North West Frontier, India (1895) 1 award
Matabeleland Rebellion, Rhodesia (1896) 2 awards
Mashona Rebellion, Rhodesia (1896 – 1897) 1 award
Crete (1898) 1 award
Malakand Frontier War, India (1897 – 1898) 1 award
Mohmand Campaign, India (1897 – 1898) 3 awards
Tirah Campaign, India (1897 – 1898) 7 awards
Boxer Rising, China (1900) 2 awards
Sudan Campaign (1896 – 1900) 6 awards
Third Ashanti Expedition (1900 – 1901) 2 awards
Second Somaliland Expedition (1902) 1 award
South African War (Boer War) (1899 – 1902) 78 awards
Kano-Sokoto Expedition, Nigeria (1903) 1 award
Third Somaliland Expedition (1902 – 1903) 3 awards
Armed Mission to Tibet (1903 – 1904) 1 award
Fourth Somaliland Expedition (1903 – 1905) 2 awards
First World War (1914 – 1918) 626 awards
North Russia Relief Force (1919) 5 awards
Arab Revolt, Mesopotamia (1920) 1 award
Waziristan Campaign, India (1919 – 1921) 3 awards
Mohmand Campaign, India (2nd) (1935) 1 award
Second World War (1939 – 1945) 181 awards
Korean War (1950 – 1953) 4 awards
Malaysia-Indonesia Confrontation (1963 – 1966) 1 award
Vietnam War (1959 – 1975) 4 awards
Falklands War (1982) 2 awards
In comparison the alarmingly boastful Welsh have had 25 VC recipients in the same time frame..
Whilst Admiral Nelson had a majority number of Irish aboard his ship from both including a surgeon.
A more contemporary skirmish…
Ship off the coast of Kerry, Oct 95.
released by the Chief of Naval Operations 10-03-02:
Irish: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South, to avoid a
British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North, to avoid
Irish: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South
to avoid a collision.
British: This is the captain of a British navy ship. I say again, divert
Irish: Negative. I say again, You will have to divert your course.
British: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. The second largest
ship in the British Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers,
two missile cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change
your course, 15 degrees north, I say again, that is 15 degrees north, or
counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure that safety of this ship.
Irish: We are a lighthouse. Your call!…..
Further afield significant numbers of Irish Americans (some Irish-born)served with the USAF, US Marines and US Navy and of that number a sizeable percentage distinguised themselves and received Medals of Honour. They didn’t ask or choose to fight no doubt, but when sacrifice was called for, they did their service.
Beyond fighting on fields and sea for the errors of world leaders over the
centuries; the Irish Diaspora made their mark…
In the speech at Rice University, Kennedy
with his opening sentence answered the question of why man should venture
“We set sail on this new sea because there is knowledge to be gained”
I would suggest that JFK was more than conscious that these were the same
sentiments that Irish people have always had since Irish monks revived the
teaching of Latin and Greek in colleges around Europe in the 8th and 9th
Space…the Irish frontier.
As I wrote this piece (Thursday, 14 July 2005), Eileen Collins, now Commander Collins, was on station to lead a crew to re-establish shuttle flight (after Columbia).She was previously an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a test pilot before she became an astronaut. She had logged 4,100 hours in 30 different aircraft. She was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle. Her second in command is also an Irish American.
Over the years, there have been Irish Americans at the leading edge of NASA, USAF, Special Forces; Marines, Navy, and Coastguard.
Among the earliest Astronaut corps with a Celtic ancestry include:
Edward A. White, the first American to E.V.A. (walk in space);
JamesMcDivitt, Commander of Gemini IV and of Apollo 9;
Michael Collins, the pilot of Apollo 11;
and Gerald Carr, who retired to be Project Director at the
Marine Corps Colonel Bryan O’Connor, was Mission Commander aboard Columbia
in June 1991. On the same flight was medical doctor, Andrew “Drew” Gaffney.
Shuttle pilot Brian Duffy flew the Atlantis in March, 1992. On board with
him, among others, was veteran Kathy Sullivan. Kathryn was the
first U. S. woman to walk in space (October, 1984). She flew again on
the shuttle mission that deployed Hubble Telescope (1990). In 1991, she was
Payload Commander on a shuttle mission to study the earth’s atmosphere. In
1992, Ms. Sullivan left NASA to return to her original field of study, Oceanography, when she accepted an appointment as Chief Scientist of the National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration.
The most recent on the flight-line, so to speak, is Commander Mark Kelly.
Endeavor pilot Brian Duffy was also with the Air Force and a test pilot before becoming an astronaut.
The latest success(2005) has been the ‘Deep Impact’ program led by a Mr A’Hearn.
There are countless other connections to the United States Space program.
Cy Baker was Executive Officer of the Astronaut Office. Cy arranged for the
Division’s three foot Irish tricolor flag to be carried into space aboard
the first shuttle, Columbia, in April, 1981. Other than the American flag,
it was the largest flag carried into space aboard a U. S. flight.
Leaders; peacemakers and revolutionaries.
The American Revolution
Irish-Americans who signed the Declaration of Independence:
Matthew Thornton, George Taylor, James Smith, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Lynch,
Thomas McKean, George Read, and Charles Carroll.
Irish-Americans made up from 1/3 to ½ of the American troops. Including
1,492 officers and 26 Generals.
The American Civil War
Seven Union Generals were Irish-born. 150,000 Irish-Americans fought for the
North in the Civil War. 39 regiments had an identifiable Irish component.
Sixteen Colonels in the Union Army were Irish-born. An estimated 80,000
Irish-Americans fought for the South. Six Confederate Generals were born in
Ireland. Eleven Colonels in the Confederate Army were born in Ireland. All
of them were Americans, of course!
The first two casualties of the American Civil War were Irish.
At Ft. Sumter
during the surrender ceremonies on April 14, 1861, a cannon exploded killing
Pvt. Daniel Hough instantly. Pvt. Edward Galway was severely wounded and
died a short time later. They would not be the last to die in service to
Seventy Irish-born Americans received the Medal of Honor during the Civil
War. Through World War I, Two Hundred and two Irish-Born soldiers received
the medal. The number goes way up if you include Americans of Irish
Eighteen of America’s presidents had Irish or Irish Scots lineage.
John Adams, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland,Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson,John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and William Jefferson Clinton.
Incidentally (2012 edit) If you walk down Cocoa Beach south of Cape Canaveral, a district is aligned and named after these US Presidents. I recall on a dark October night after a shuttle launch “I must be near Madison-as I passed by Polk”.
Just as Washington DC has grid allignment named after States of the Union (some nice property on New Jersey Avenue, I recall). As I recall now the kind lady who gave me her mobile phone to find directions back to a reasonably priced hotel(incidentally just a sling shot from the House of Congress.
I return you to the list I wrote ca 2005. I haven’t had time to give the listing the rigourous editing you may have come to expect, and repetition is rife!. Errors are possible(some curious names)-but you ‘get the drift’.
John Barry was the ‘Father of the American Navy’.
Wild Bill” Donovan; Colonel of the “Fighting 69th” in World War I, he was
awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal,
the Congressional Medal of Honor, a Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters
and the Croix de Guerre. After the war he headed up the Office of Strategic
Services (which evolved into the CIA.)
As mentioned earlier American pilots of Irish descent are legion.
Many Irish Americans served with distinction (and sacrifice) in the US
Navy; Marines; SEALS; Special Forces.
From NASA website
“From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of
The US Marine Corps anthem dedicated to the Irish American Presley O’Bannon.
The following is part of a tribute speech to the US Navy from a NASA
Director and son of another distinguished Irish American Naval Officer.
“Commodore Barry and Lieutenant O’Bannon; but two of thousands of
Irish-Americans who have served heroically in the Navy and Marine Corps and
have given their name to Fleet Destroyers serving today in the U.S.
Navy. Commodore Barry is honored by the second Aegis Destroyer, the Barry;
and Lieutenant O’Bannon by the 25th Spruance Destroyer, O’Bannon.
Indeed, from the opening salvo of the American Revolution through the
present, the battle reports of the Navy and Marine Corps, sparkle with Irish
names. Admiral William Leahy was the first Irish-American five-star
Admiral—one of only four, in the history of the republic. These early
Irish-American naval officers are the lineage of the modern exploration
conquests in space
The descendants of the Apollo legacy are present with us today in the space
program. Our leader of the space flight program is Bill Readdy, veteran
astronaut commander of space shuttle flights, and retired Captain, United
States Navy. Veteran astronaut and Marine Corps Colonel, Bryan O’Connor
bears the enormous challenge of leading our safety and mission assurance
Jim Reilly, descended from County Cork lineage, and presently Lieutenant
Commander, United States Navy is an active member of the astronaut corps, a
veteran of prior missions and slated to serve of a future mission upon our
return to flight; as are the Kelly twins, Mark and Scott, both Navy test
pilots and veteran astronauts, and Douglas Hurley, a Navy test pilot, and a
member of the most recently selected astronaut class.
But, of course, the pantheon of great space exploration veterans of Irish
American descent is not exclusively restricted to naval service roots:
Frank Griffin NASA Administrator, physicist and aerospace engineer alluded to the last public speech President John F. Kennedy,
when he relayed a story told by the Irish writer Frank O’Connor. This story defines what NASA is all about.
“O’Connor wrote how as a boy he and his friends would make their way across
the countryside,” said Kennedy. “When they came to an orchard wall that
seemed to high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their
voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall
so as they had no choice but to follow them.”
The President concluded, “This Nation has tossed its cap over the wall of
space, and we have no choice but to follow it. Whatever the difficulties,
they will be overcome. Whatever the hazards, they must be guarded against.
With the help of all those who labor in the space endeavor, with the help
and support of all Americans, we will climb this wall with safety and with
speed:and we shall then explore the wonders on the other side.”
There’s nothing particularly easy, I’ve come to find, about the challenges
of exploration other than its wide appeal as a human instinctive desire. The
“how-to” is debatable and after controversial. It is with that in mind that
I see such profound linkages to our early naval traditions of tenacity and
the ability to overcome adversity. Let me close with an Irish toast that
often comes to mind at the end of a long day in Washington ? “May the devil
chase you every day of your life and never catch you.” As I always mentally
add to that toast, if the devil isn’t at least chasing you, you’re probably
not doing it right? and you’re probably not Irish. Thank you and Erin Go
speech by JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY
Indeed President Kennedy expressed a quintessential Irish philosophy that
“All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties,
and both must be enterprised (sic)and overcome with answerable courage.”
from another speech
“I hope that the qualities of the Irish—good humor, spirit, stubbornness in
the right cause, and the ability to keep your head up when the going gets
hard—will continue to stand us in good stead in the space exploration
community. We will need them in the days ahead as NASA goes through
These challenges call for bold innovation, and, in some cases, sweeping
changes. Our goal is to reshape NASA into a tightly knit, highly efficient,
focused community capable of regularly repeating the amazing achievements we
see evident in the present Mars expedition. A goal worth struggling for as
the desire to explore is written in the human heart. I am here tonight as an
Irish American proud to be part of the journey, and with the right
determination, I firmly believe we will succeed”
<I acknowledge texts from the NASA website where there is an asterisk and the following information which in part come from NASA and the American Armed Services. I acknowledge as holders of proprietory and intellectual rights>
Brian O’Leary was but one of only two astronaut scientists in the Apollo
Kathryn Sullivan was the first woman astronaut to conduct a space walk, and
included in the annals of the “Greatest Irish Americans of the 20th Century”
Paul Haney joined NASA when the agency was formed in 1958 and through the
Apollo era was known by Walter Cronkite as the “Voice of Mission Control”
The Irish have always been a catalyst for progress in America. For
instance, it is estimated that during the American Revolution between
one-third and one-half of General Washington’s forces, including 1492
officers, were of Irish descent. Once the struggle was won; many Irish
Americans diverted their energy and courage to subduing the “Wild Frontier.”
Such names as Daniel Boone, first to explore Kentucky, was originally Daniel
Buhun; Davy Crockett, John C. Calhoun; Kit Carson;Bat Masterson; Pat
Garrett; and Sam Houston (the first president of Texas)were the first of an
Irish litany of names to make their contribution to the Great American
Eight of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were of Irish
descent. The document itself was handwritten by Irish-born Charles Thomson
and printed by another Irishman, John Dunlap. *
And if that wasn’t ‘cum summa laude ‘enough……..many in UK would be
shocked to learn and I reiterate, that the greatest sporting icon of the 20th century Mohammed
Ali(Cassius Clay)had Irish ancestry. Is it all that surprising given his
alacrity with wit?.
Odessa Grady Clay, Cassius Clay’s mother, was the great-granddaughter
of the freed slave Tom Morehead and of John Grady of Ennis, whose son
Abe had emigrated from Ireland to the United States. She named her son
Cassius in honor of a famous Kentucky abolitionist of that time. It is not
to be overlooked that the appellation ‘Clay’ was regarded as a slave name by
the great one.
Diametrically opposite in the political dialectic to Irish American
politicians seemingly,but nevertheless the outstanding ‘socialist’ figure of
courage and intelligence was another man with Irish ancestry, Ernesto
YOU WANT CELEBRITIES..I’LL GIVE YOU CELEBRITIES (with reiterations)
Astronomer Edgeworth – he made reference to Jupitor’s rings, before Mr Kuiper,.
First female astronomer Irishwoman Dill Russell Everitt
Thomas Grubb for Telescopes and optical instruments
William Rowan Hamilton –Mathematician extraordinaire.
Francis Beaufort for work on wind speed.
Edmund Davy-acetylene torch.
James Martin-ejection seat.
Harry Ferguson—anti-skid and 4 wheel drive/flew planes /invented airfix…and
still had time to build up a tractor manufacture empire.
James Drum-battery powered trains.
Peter Rice-engineer who inspired architects throughout the world. He
pioneered use of materials including cast steel and glass.
Francis Chesney-military surveyor.(Father of Suez canal)
One of the greatest Mining Tycoons’ was one Marcus Daly from Cavan, who
developed the worlds’ largest copper mine in Montana USA.
William Hunter McCrea
John Gregg-shorthand script.
LITERATURE and the ARTS
Samuel Beckett(genius and playwright)
Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, novelist and
Oscar Wilde, novelist, poet, satirist
George Bernard Shaw, (individualist; unique human;novelist, playwright,
Bram Stoker (author of Dracula, and more)
Brendan Behan, playwright, novelist; bon viveur )
Oliver Goldsmith – novelist and dramatist
Sean O’Casey, playwright
as we have entered the ephemeral world of the arts -the subsequent job description may loosely be applied to some or many of the following depending on your evolved sensibilities or lack of same.
Actor- really? Poet-really? ecetera.
William Butler Yeats, poet
John Millington Synge – dramatist
Francis Ledwidge, poet
Thomas Moore – poet
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, playwright
Laurence Sterne – novelist
Brian Friel, playwright
John Banville, novelist
Irish American contribution
in Literature include…
Eugene O’Neill America’s most respected playwright “Long Day’s Journey Into
Night” and “The Iceman Cometh, among his work.
F Scott Fitzgerald.
Tom Kenneally (Tom Wolf)
Actually the list is vitually endless…but not literally so
Did you know that John Steinbeck’s mother was Irish?
We shall move on to save space
Irish American, American-Irish
JOHN FORD (born Sean Aloysius O’Feeney)
Within their ancestry
AUDIE MURPHY( because he was the most decorated American hero in real life.)
ROBERT REDFORD (yes! remarkably, he admits to it–after his TCD Hon degree. What a bribe!)
JOHN WAYNE (Marion Morrison.)
MARTIN SHEEN( of Irish and Spanish extraction)
ERROL FLYNN(to be confirmed)
ANTHONY QUINN(Irish-Mexican or Mexican Irish. Isn’t there a Greek line?)
JOHN CUSACK(nephew of Joan)
WARREN BEATTY(he is here because any higher would make his head explode)
DENNIS LEARY (comic actor)
The Irish gene I spoke of initially was obviously not the mutation in the genome we have had in local yokel politics, media, finance as a hole—I mean whole.
MORE FROM ANCESTRY WEBSITE
in A to Z order of some mixture of ‘Irishness’ (some dubiously/some remotely)
Don Adams Actor 13-Apr-1926 “Missed it by that much.”
Ben Affleck Actor 15-Aug-1972
Casey Affleck Actor 12-Aug-1975
Christina Aguilera Singer 18-Dec-1980 I guess-maternal side
George Allen Politician 8-Mar-1952 US Senator from Virginia 2001-
Gracie Allen Actor 26-Jul-1895 27-Aug-1964 Say goodnight Gracie
Krista Allen Actor 5-Apr-1972 Jenna on Baywatch
Armand Assante Actor 4-Oct-1949 -maternal side.
Mary Astor Actor 3-May-1906 25-Sep-1987 The Maltese Falcon
Barbara Bach Actor 27-Aug-1947
Alec Baldwin Actor 3-Apr-1958 ie-all The Baldwin family.
Stanley Baldwin. Really??? Head of State 3-Aug-1867 14-Dec-1947 UK Prime Minister three times
John Barrymore Actor 14-Feb-1882 29-May-1942 Romeo and Juliet
John Drew Barrymore Actor 4-Jun-1932 29-Nov-2004 High School Confidential! Blame still remains as he begat a daughter actress.
Mischa Barton Actor 24-Jan-1986 Marissa Cooper on The O.C.
Jennifer Beals Actor 19-Dec-1963 Flashdance
Ed Begley, Sr. Actor 25-Mar-1901 28-Apr-1970 Juror #10 in 12 Angry Men
Mary Boland Actor 28-Jan-1880 23-Jun-1965 Ruggles of Red Gap
Larry Bossidy Business 5-Mar-1935 CEO of Honeywell
Dion Boucicault Playwright 26-Dec-1820 18-Sep-1890 The Corsican Brothers
Stephen Boyd Actor 4-Jul-1931 2-Jun-1977 Ben-Hur
Lisa Boyle Model 6-Aug-1964 Cover of October 1995 Playboy
Peter Boyle Actor 18-Oct-1933 Young Frankenstein
Marlon Brando Actor 03-Apr-1924 1-Jul-2004 Definite Irish blood along with American Indian, and English, and other lineage.
William J. Brennan Judge 25-Apr-1906 24-Jul-1997 U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Susie Bright Columnist 25-Mar-1958 Sexpert, porn critic
Matthew Broderick Actor 21-Mar-1962 War Games
Pierce Brosnan Actor 16-May-1951 Remington Steele, James Bond
Pat Buchanan Columnist 2-Nov-1938 Right-wing conservative throwback
Whitey Bulger Criminal 3-Sep-1929 One of the FBI’s ten most wanted
Anthony Burgess Novelist 25-Feb-1917 25-Nov-1993 A Clockwork Orange. I had thought he just liked the Irish-as he did -Joyce.
Edward Burns Actor 29-Jan-1968 Saving Private Ryan
Ellen Burstyn Actor 7-Dec-1932 Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Steve Buscemi Actor 13-Dec-1957 Reservoir Dogs
Gary Busey Actor 29-Jun-1944 The Buddy Holly Stor
Thomas Cahill Author 1940 How the Irish Saved Civilization
Dean Cain Actor 31-Jul-1966 Superman
Joseph Califano Government 1931 Carter’s HEW Secretary
Mariah Carey Singer/Songwriter 27-Mar-1970 Diva
Lynda Carter Actor 24-Jul-1951 Wonder Woman
Dana Carvey Comic 2-Jun-1955 Saturday Night Live
Jack Cassidy Actor 5-Mar-1927 12-Dec-1976 The Eiger Sanction. Father of
David(singer). Inference can be made that he is in fact Irish American and
not another ‘welsh claim’
Willa Cather Novelist 7-Dec-1875 24-Apr-1947 O Pioneers!
James Caviezel Actor 26-Sep-1968 Christ on a cross in Mel Gibson’s Passion
Neil Cavuto TV Personality 22-Sep-1958 Fox News Channel VP, news anchor
Linda Chavez Activist 17-Jun-1947 Neoconservative activist, pundit
Tommy Chong Actor 24-May-1938 The stoned half of Cheech and Chong
Kate Chopin Novelist 8-Feb-1851 22-Aug-1904 The Awakening
Mary Higgins Clark Author 24-Dec-1929 A Stranger is Watching
Rosemary Clooney Singer 23-May-1928 29-Jun-2002 Come On-a My House
Rory Cochrane Actor 28-Feb-1972 Tim Speedle on CSI: Miami
Richard J. Codey Politician 27-Nov-1946 Acting Governor of New Jersey 2004-
George M. Cohan Musician 3-Jul-1878 5-Nov-1942 Yankee Doodle Dandy
Latter two fall into category of British -Irish almost reluctantly admitting Irish ancestry-now that’s its the ‘in’ thing.. There are others in this list too. It helps book sales in the great wide world outside of UK.
Chuck Connors Actor 10-Apr-1921 10-Nov-1992 The Rifleman
Frances Conroy Actor 13-Nov-1953 Ruth Fisher on Six Feet Under
John Singleton Copley Painter
Chris Cornell Musician 20-Jul-1964 Soundgarden frontman
Bud Cort Actor 29-Mar-1948 Harold in Harold and Maude
Bob Costas TV Personality 22-Mar-1952 Sportscaster, formerly hosted Later
Kevin Costner Actor 18-Jan-1955 Waterworld
Father Charles Coughlin Religion 25-Oct-1891 27-Oct-1979 Radio
Jeanne Crain Actor 25-May-1925 14-Dec-2003 20th Century Fox studio actress
Joseph Force Crater Victim 1889 6-Aug-1930 NY State Judge vanished
Russell Crowe Actor 7-Apr-1964
Jane Curtin Actor 6-Sep-1947 SNL, Third Rock from the Sun
John Cusack Actor 28-Jun-1966 High Fidelit
Marion Davies Actor 3-Jan-1897 22-Sep-1961 When Knighthood Was in Flower
Daniel Day-Lewis Actor 29-Apr-1957
Robert De Niro Actor 17-Aug-1943 The Godfather: Part II . He sees himself from his Italian side. Can’t get away from your Irish side, Bob! C’mon!!!
Eamon de Valera Head of State 14-Oct-1882 29-Aug-1975 President of Ireland
Mike DeWine Politician 5-Jan-1947 US Senator from Ohio
John Dingell Politician 6-Jul-1926 US Congressman, Michigan 15th
William Donohue Activist 18-Jul-1947 Catholic League president
Wild Bill Donovan Government 1-Jan-1883 8-Feb-1959 Founded the OSS
Robert Downey, Jr. Actor 4-Apr-1965 Not sure
Ellen Drew Actor 23-Nov-1915 3-Dec-2003 If I Were King
Karen Duffy Actor 23-May-1962 MTV VJ turned Dumb & Dumber actress
Nora Dunn Comic 29-Apr-1952 SNL alumnus
Dominique Dunne Actor 23-Nov-1959 4-Nov-1982 Poltergeist
Dick Durbin Politician 21-Nov-1944 US Senator from Illinois
Ms. Dynamite Singer 26-Apr-1981 London-based MC, Booo!
Barbara Ehrenreich Author 26-Aug-1941 Nickel and Dimed
Carmen Electra Model 20-Apr-1972 Jenny McCarthy’s replacement on Singled Out
Jeffrey Eugenides Author 1960 The Virgin Suicides
Chris Evans Actor 13-Jun-1981 The Fantastic Four
John Fiedler Actor 3-Feb-1925 25-Jun-2005 Voice of Piglet
Ralph Fiennes Actor 22-Dec-1962 Red Dragon ??????
F. Scott Fitzgerald Author 24-Sep-1896 21-Dec-1940 The Great Gatsby
Sean Patrick Flanery Actor 1-Oct-1965 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
John Spalding Flannery Attorney 16-May-1870 17-Feb-1954 Prominent Washington
Errol Flynn Actor 20-Jun-1909 14-Oct-1959 more like Tasmanian-Ozzy Irish
Harrison Ford Actor 13-Jul-1942
John Ford Film Director 1-Feb-1894 31-Aug-1973
Matthew Fox Religion 21-Dec-1940 Creation Spirituality
Vicente Fox Head of State 2-Jul-1942 President of Mexico
Robert Fulton Inventor 14-Nov-1765 24-Feb-1815 Inventor of the submarine and
Thomas Gage Military 1721 2-Apr-1787 Commander of British Forces in America
Janeane Garofalo Comic 28-Sep-1964 Actor, Comedian, Author, Activist
David Garrick Actor 19-Feb-1717 20-Jan-1779 Manager of Drury Lane Theatre
Greer Garson Actor 29-Sep-1904 6-Apr-1996 Mrs. Miniver
Richard Gere Actor 31-Aug-1949 ????????
Aria Giovanni Pornstar 3-Nov-1977 Softcore vixen, fetish & bondage model
Jackie Gleason Actor 26-Feb-1916 24-Jun-1987 Ralph Kramden in The
Louise Imogen Guiney Poet 7-Jan-1861 2-Nov-1920 A Roadside Harp
Joan Hackett Actor 1-Mar-1934 8-Oct-1983 Only When I Laugh
Pete Hamill Journalist 24-Jun-1935 The New York Post
Sean Hannity Radio Personality 30-Dec-1961 Clinton-hater for Fox News
Lord Haw-Haw Radio Personality 24-Apr-1906 3-Jan-1946 WWII propagandist
Dick Haymes Musician 13-Sep-1916 28-Mar-1980 State Fair
Susan Hayward Actor 30-Jun-1918 14-Mar-1975 I Want to Live!
Rita Hayworth Actor 17-Oct-1918 14-May-1987 Gilda
Lafcadio Hearn Author 27-Jun-1850 26-Sep-1904 Japan: An Attempt at
Patricia Heaton Actor 4-Mar-1958 Wife Debra in Everybody Loves Raymond
Van Heflin Actor 13-Dec-1910 23-Jul-1971 Till the Clouds Roll By
Katherine Helmond Actor 5-Jul-1928 Jessica Tate on Soap
Jill Hennessy Actor 25-Nov-1968 Claire Kincaid on Law and Order
Barbara Hershey Actor 5-Feb-1948 Boxcar Bertha and Mary Magdalene. I just knew it!Beautiful Barbara has Irish-Jewish lineage.
Brian Higgins Politician 6-Oct-1959 Congressman, New York 27th 2005
Henry Hill Criminal 1942 Mobster inspired Goodfellas
Alfred Hitchcock Film Director 13-Aug-1899 29-Apr-1980 Master of Suspense remote connection ?
Henry Hyde Politician 18-Apr-1924 Congressman, Illinois 6th 1975-
Patricia Ireland Activist 19-Oct-1945 NOW president 1991-2001
Andrew Jackson Head of State 15-Mar-1767 8-Jun-1845 7th US President,
Dr. John Musician 21-Nov-1940 Right Place, Wrong Time
Paul X. Kelley Military 11-Nov-1928 28th USMC Commandant, 1983-87
Grace Kelly Royalty 12-Nov-1929 14-Sep-1982
Moira Kelly Actor 6-Mar-1968 Mandy on The West Wing
Jamie Kennedy Actor 25-May-1970 Scream, Malibu’s Most Wanted
James Kimsey Business 1939 AOL’s founding CEO
Thomas Kinkade Painter 19-Jan-1958 Self-proclaimed “Painter of Light”
Neil LaBute Film Director 19-Mar-1963
Brian Lamb Talk Show Host 9-Oct-1941 Founded C-SPAN
Burt Lancaster Actor 2-Nov-1913 20-Oct-1994
Michael Landon Actor 31-Oct-1936 1-Jul-1991
Artie Lange Comic 11-Oct-1967 MADtv, Howard Stern
T. E. Lawrence Author 16-Aug-1888 19-May-1935 Lawrence of Arabia ? O’Toole-yes..but Lawrence?
Patrick Leahy Politician 31-Mar-1940 US Senator from Vermont, 1974-
Kelly LeBrock 24-Mar-1960
Hyapatia Lee Pornstar 11-Nov-1960 Hy Heeled Drifter, Titty Committee
Vivien Leigh Actor 5-Nov-1913 8-Jul-1967 Gone With The Wind
G. Gordon Liddy Government 30-Nov-1930 Watergate criminal cum talk-show-host
Donal Logue Actor 27-Feb-1966 Jimmy the Cab Driver
Dan Lungren Politician 22-Sep-1946 Congressman, California 2005-
Phil Lynott Musician 20-Aug-1949 4-Jan-1986 Founder of Thin Lizzy
Peter Maas Author 27-Jun-1929 23-Aug-2001 Serpico
Jeanette MacDonald Actor 18-Jun-1903 14-Jan-1965 The Merry Widow
Connie Mack Sports – Baseball 22-Dec-1862 8-Feb-1956 Manager of the
Virginia Madsen Actor 11-Sep-1963 Dune to Sideways
Bill Maher Talk Show Host 20-Jan-1956 Host of Politically Incorrect
Jock Mahoney Actor 7-Feb-1919 14-Dec-1989 Yancy Derringer
Chris Matthews Talk Show Host 17-Dec-1945 Hardball with Chris Matthews
Mercedes McCambridge Actor 17-Mar-1916 2-Mar-2004 All the King’s Men
Paul McCartney Musician 18-Jun-1942 Lineage strongest with Harrison, then by McC, Lennon, Richard Starkey.
John McCone Spy 4-Jan-1902 14-Feb-1991 CIA Director 1961-65
Malachy McCourt Actor 20-Sep-1931 Father Meehan on Oz
James McDermott Politician 28-Dec-1936 Congressman, Washington 7th
John McEnroe Sports – Tennis 16-Feb-1959
Patrick McGoohan Actor 19-Mar-1928
Mark McGrath Musician 15-Mar-1968 Frontman for Sugar Ray
Ben McKelway Journalist 2-Oct-1895 1976 Editor, The Washington Star
Leo McKern Actor 16-Mar-1920 23-Jul-2002 Travelling North, Rumpole of theBaileyMust be Norn Iron category- Irish ancestry’ . It helps book sales and general ‘fame and social climbing’ in the great wide world outside of UK
Vince McMahon, Sr. Sports – Wrestling 6-Jul-1914 24-May-1984 World Wide
Wrestling Federation founder
Robert McNamara Government 9-Jun-1916 US Secretary of Defense 1961-68
Colm Meaney Actor 30-May-1953 Transporter Chief O’Brien in Star Trek
Anne Meara Comic 20-Sep-1929 Stiller and Meara
Andrew W. Mellon Business 24-Mar-1855 27-Aug-1937 US Secretary of the
Stephin Merritt Musician 1966 The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths
Tom Mesereau Attorney 1950
Judith Miller Journalist 1948
Kate Millett Activist 14-Sep-1934 Sexual Politics
George J. Mitchell Politician 20-Aug-1933 US Senator from Maine 1980-95
Rhona Mitra Actor 9-Aug-1976
Michael Moore Film Director 23-Apr-1954 Oscar-winning director, agitator
Jim Moran Politician 16-May-1945 Congressman, Virginia 8th
Kate Mulgrew Actor 29-Apr-1955 Star Trek: Voyager
Dermot Mulroney Actor 31-Oct-1963 Young Guns
Billy Murray Singer 25-May-1877 17-Aug-1954 Top recording star of the early
Alannah Myles Singer/Songwriter 25-Dec-1958 Black Velvet
Jack Nance Actor 21-Dec-1943 30-Dec-1996 Eraserhead
Gaylord Nelson Politician 4-Jun-1916 3-Jul-2005 Founded Earth Day in 1970
Jack Nicholson Actor 22-Apr-1937
Pat Nixon First Lady 16-Mar-1912 22-Jun-1993 First Lady
Richard M. Nixon Head of State 9-Jan-1913 22-Apr-1994 37th US President,
Oliver North Military 7-Oct-1943 Perjuring Iran-Contra figure
Conan O’Brien Talk Show Host 18-Apr-1963 Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Pat O’Brien Actor 11-Nov-1899 15-Oct-1983 Angels with Dirty Faces
Pat O’Brien Journalist 14-Feb-1948 The Insider
Soledad O’Brien Journalist 19-Sep-1966 CNN newscaster
Flannery O’Connor Author 25-Mar-1925 3-Aug-1964
Lawrence O’Donnell Journalist 1955 MSNBC political analyst
Catherine O’Hara Comic 4-Mar-1954
Maureen O’Hara Actor 17-Aug-1920 Miracle on 34th Street
Bernardo O’Higgins Head of State 20-Aug-1778 24-Oct-1842 Supreme Director of
Eugene O’Neill Playwright 16-Oct-1888 27-Nov-1953 America’s greatest
Bill O’Reilly Talk Show Host 10-Sep-1949
Charles Stewart Parnell Politician 27-Jun-1846 6-Oct-1891 Irish Nationalist
Laura Prepon Actor 7-Mar-1980 Donna on That 70’s Show
Lindsay Price Actor 6-Dec-1976 Coupling
Anna Quindlen Columnist 8-Jul-1953 NYT columnist turned novelist
Colin Quinn Comic 6-Jun-1959 Tough Crowd, SNL
Johnny Ramone Musician 8-Oct-1951 15-Sep-2004 Member of the Ramones
Ronald Reagan?????? Head of State? 6-Feb-1911 5-Jun-2004 40th US President, 1981-89
George E. Reedy Government 5-Aug-1917 21-Mar-1999 Lyndon B. Johnson’s press
Donald Regan Government 21-Dec-1918 10-Jun-2003 US Secretary of the Treasury
Tara Reid Actor 8-Nov-1975 Bunny in The Big Lebowski
Charles Nelson Reilly Actor 13-Jan-1931 Very, very gay actor
Tanya Roberts Actor 15-Oct-1955 Bond Girl, Beastmaster, That 70s Show
Ed Rollins Government 19-Mar-1943 GOP political strategist
Andy Rooney Journalist 14-Jan-1919 60 Minutes’ resident crank
Harold W. Ross Publisher 6-Nov-1892 6-Dec-1951 Founder of The New Yorker
Mickey Rourke Actor 16-Sep-1956 Angel Heart, Animal Factory
Mercedes Ruehl Actor 28-Feb-1948 Married to the Mob, The Fisher King
Tim Russert R.I.P Talk Show Host 7-May-1950 Meet the Press
Frederick Ryan, Jr. Business 12-Apr-1955 CEO of Allbritton Communications
Augustus Saint-Gaudens Sculptor 1-Mar-1848 3-Aug-1907 Leading 19th c.
Leverett Saltonstall Politician 1-Sep-1892 17-Jun-1979 US Senator from
Brian Schweitzer Politician 4-Sep-1955 Governor of Montana 2005-
Vin Scully Sports – Baseball 29-Nov-1927 Voice of the Dodgers
Steven Seagal Actor 10-Apr-1951 Pudgy direct-to-rental action star
Mack Sennett Film/TV Producer 17-Jan-1880 5-Nov-1960 Founder of Keystone
Ray Sharkey Actor 14-Nov-1952 11-Jun-1993 Sonny Steelgrave on Wiseguy
Martin Sheen Actor 3-Aug-1940
Maria Shriver Journalist 6-Nov-1955 now ex Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Alfred E. Smith Government 30-Dec-1873 04-Oct-1944 Two-time Governor of New
Patty Smyth Musician 26-Jun-1957 She is the warrior
Dusty Springfield ie Mary O’Brien Singer 16-Apr-1939 2-Mar-1999
Gwen Stefani Singer 3-Oct-1969 Singer
Jimmy Stewart Actor 20-May-1908 2-Jul-1997 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Sharon Stone Actor 10-Mar-1958
Arthur Sullivan Musician 13-May-1842 22-Nov-1900 Gilbert & Sullivan
Louis Sullivan Architect 3-Sep-1856 14-Apr-1924 Early skyscraper architect
Willie Sutton Criminal 30-Jun-1901 2-Nov-1980 Because that’s where the money
Julia Sweeney Comic 10-Oct-1961 Androgyne Pat on Saturday Night Live
Richard E. Taylor Physicist 2-Nov-1929 Verified existence of quarks
John Travolta Actor 18-Feb-1954 Saturday Night Fever
Alan Turing Mathematician 23-Jun-1912 7-Jun-1954 Computing pioneer Really?
Peter Ueberroth Sports – Baseball 2-Sep-1937 Former Commissioner of Baseball
Rudy Vallee Actor 28-Jul-1901 3-Jul-1986 Singer, actor, bandleader
Greta Van Susteren Journalist 11-Jun-1955 Fox News journalist, plastic
Mark Wahlberg Actor 5-Jun-1971 Formerly of the Funky Bunch
Tom Waits Musician 7-Dec-1949 The drinking man’s Billy Joel
John Walsh TV Personality 26-Dec-1945 America’s Most Wanted
Julie Walters Actor 22-Feb-1950 Educating Rita
Jack Welch Business 19-Nov-1935 CEO of GE, 1981-2001
Mae West Actor 17-Aug-1893 22-Nov-1980 Go up and see her sometime
Dan White Government 2-Sep-1946 21-Oct-1985 Assassinated George Moscone and
Michael Williams Actor 9-Jul-1935 11-Jan-2001 Educating Rita
James Woods Actor 18-Apr-1947 Casino, Any Given Sunday
Rose Mary Woods Government 26-Dec-1917 22-Jan-2005 Blamed for 18.5 minute
Watergate tape erasure
more glitzy parade ….
( actress, mother of Mia Farrow)
JOAN CUSACK(Aunt of John)
SHIRLEY MC LEAN(sister of Warren Beatty)
MARY TYLER MOORE(surprised me too!)
and countless others such as
Jennifer Connolly; Megan Murphy
Johnny Carson (Here’s Johnny seminal influence on ‘chat show’ genre for 40
Phil Donoghue (equally influenced the ‘studio question format’ for 35 years)
Writer/Producer of Sex and the City….Michael Patrick King.
Writer Producer of Nip Tuck….Ryan Murphy
John F. Sullivan who changed his name to “Fred Allen
(Anyone familiar with early 20th Century radio knows Allen’s brand of
and Writers /Directors and performers for most hit shows of the last 50
As one in six Americans have Irish ancestry and the remainder wish they
had; adding MORE here would be tedious to the reader, as it is
proving wearisome to me.
Don’t you know God invented Guinness to stop the IRISH from taking over the
Then there were the plethora of Irish engineers and designers and architects throughout each era.
James Hoban from Kilkenny designed and supervised the executive mansion
between 1792 and 1800. When the British burned it in 1814, he oversaw the
reconstruction after which it was known as “The White House.”.
John Philip Holland-A submarine designer who finally convinced the U.S. Navy
to use submarines in 1900.
Henry Ford, son of an Irish immigrant started the Ford Motor Company and the rest is history.
Willis O’Brien advanced the technique of “stop motion” photography for the
film “The Dinosaur” in 1913. He went on to use the technique for “King Kong”
Mathew Brady—Born to Irish immigrants, Brady is the best known 19th Centiry
And many more
Reverting to the Arts again
Stephen Foster: America’s finest nineteenth century popular song composer.
George M. Cohan: Grandson of Michael Keohane from County Cork. Give My
Regards To Broadway, Yankee Doodle Boy, and You’re a Grand Old Flag are
tunes that George M. Cohan left as part of the American Musical tradition.
John and Lionel Barrymore
In the 1920’s the American stage belonged to the Barrymore’s. It was said
that when Shakespeare wrote “Hamlet,” he had John Barrymore in mind for the
Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Cochrane).First made America conscious of the
woman reporter by making a trip around the world in 72 days, 6 hours, and 11
minutes. Many different occupations -actor/directors/performers/senators,
surgeons; doctors; architects, industrialists, journalists, sports figures,
writers, boxers, and attorneys right up to the Supreme Court .
IRISH on this side of the pond……
Daniel Day-Lewis(perhaps or not but qv Sligo/his father)
Neil Jordan, author, film director
By the way, comic actor; writer and world traveller Michael Palin has talked
about his Kilkenny roots(but sadly like Des Lynam et al) he did so quietly
and discreetly on Irish media outlets only.
Kenny Everett (on his mother’s side presumably).
Fiona Shaw(Shakepearian classicist and film/tv actress)
Niamh Cusack (ditto)
Elvis Costello .
The Beatles –<-check the ancestry> viz Mc Cartney/ Harrison/ Lennon.
(the latest to say he had Irish roots was in fact Ringo)
Elvis (had Irish/Ulster roots)
Jim Morrisson of the Doors(part Irish ancestry)
Morrissey of the Smiths.
The late genius Rory Gallagher (had he being
British, Eric Clapton would be just another session player).
Thin Lizzy (until 21st century revival, were underated)
Hot House Flowers.
I REST MY CASE.
They all had something
that is lacking
the Mary and Brian Coalition of Gravy Train Riding.