Unlikely celebrities with Irish roots.

Famous people with Irish origins

 

The Irish have spread far and wide however some most unlikely celebrities have Irish blood in them.

Marlon Brand, such a powerhouse of an actor traces his Irish roots back to his maternal great-grandfather, Myles Gahan, who immigrated to the US from Ireland. Michael Fassbender, has been wowing cinema goers in recent times, with his powerful uncompromising performances. His mother, Adele, hails from County Antrim in Northern Ireland. As a child, he spent time in Killarney and even served as an altar boy. His Irish credentials couldn’t be stronger, according to family legend, his mom is the great-great niece of famed Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins.

There are some with less pure Irish blood, but none the less a bit of Irish in them. Elvis Presley was of English, Scottish, French, Irish, Dutch and Danish descent. Beyonce Knowles is of African American, African, French, Irish, and Native American descent. Kurt Cobain was of Irish, English, Scottish, and German descent. His ancestors emigrated from Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1875. Researchers found them to have been shoemakers originally named Cobane from the village of Inishatieve, near Pomeroy. Apparently Cobain himself thought his family came from Cork, though.

I kind of suspected that Jim Morrison had some Irish blood, Jim being of English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Bruce Springsteen, an iconic American rocker, is of Italian, Dutch and Irish descent. “School’s Out” singer Alice Cooper is of French Huguenot, Sioux Native American, English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Meryl Streep, such a brilliant all round actress, has a bit of Irish in her. A researcher has claimed to have traced Streep’s great-great grandmother Grace Strain’s departure from Ireland to New York. Streep later named her daughter after the relative. Harrison Ford, known for being India Jones, amongst other things, also has an Irish father. You wouldn’t imagine Ben Stiller as being Irish, but in fact his mother is Irish Catholic. Look into Obama’s ancestry and you will find great-great-grandfather was an Irish immigrant who left for America in 1850.

Perhaps the most significant contributor to entertainment, Walt Disney’s great-grandfather, Arundel Elias Disney, emigrated to the New World from Gowran in Kilkenny, making Walt at Irishman by blood. Muhammed Ali’s great-grandfather was from Ennis in Clare. His name was Abe Grady and he emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s.

Liverpool has a high intake of Irish immigrants, so it is no surprise The Beatles had Irish blood among them. By 1851 20% of Liverpool’s population was Irish. They’ve kept going there ever since and today 50% of Scousers claim Irish heritage.. McCartney’s maternal grandfather came from Monaghan and his paternal great-grandfather also hailed from Ireland. Lennon’s paternal grandfather was a member of a music group in Dublin. The notoriously private George Harrison came from an Irish Catholic family on his mother’s side, his maternal grandfather hailed from Wexford. Unusually for the time his grandparents never married. While Ringo Starr is often described as the most English Beatle, it is possible to trace one family line going back to County Mayo suggesting all four of The Beatles can be accurately described as having ancestral roots in Ireland (a claim made by Bono). John Lennon was eager to find out more about his family roots and hired genealogists during the height of his fame, in a quest to establish his roots. Unfortunately they failed him and as a result Lennon knew very little about his Irish heritage.

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.

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Irish legends, including the Black Nun

LEGENDS

Ireland is a country that resonates with legends. Leprechauns, little green men who will give you gold at the end of their rainbow, or even as the keeper of Lucky Charms, immediately come to mind. Leprechauns are thought to be fairies who take on the form of old men, stand at about three feet high, wearing green or red suits, and notoriously have a substantial beard. They are typically mischievous creatures, preying on the unsuspecting. If you feel that you have had a string of bad luck, you may have a leprechaun to blame. Where might you come across such a creature? You need to make your way to Carlingford, in County Down, a place regularly cited as a spot where these little troublesome little men frequent.

Have you ever heard of a “changling” This is quite an obscure idea. If you believe the legend surrounding these creatures, they are the children of fairies who have been deformed. Given fairies seem to be shallow and won’t love these children no matter what, they would often sneak into town and swap out their changelings for human babies, who were more aesthetically pleasing. Changelings are generally miserable creatures who only experience joy when there is grief, pain, or destruction occurring.

If you fear you might in the company of a changling, what about the legend of the banshee? The banshee is basically a fairy messenger of death and of the underworld. When someone is at the point of death, she lets out a piercing wail rattling the souls of anyone hearing it. The banshee can take the form of an old haggard woman or by contrast a beautiful young woman. Regardless of her form if you see and hear her screams, you or someone in your family will die soon.

Anyone familiar with the town of Ballycastle will relate the legend of Julia McQuillan, also known as “The Black Nun”, who lived in the Bonamargy Friary in the 1600’s. The Friary still stands today in ruins. MacQuillen wished to be buried at the entrance of the chapel so that she might be trodden under the feet of those who entered. Legend has it if you walk around the black nun’s grave 7 times clockwise and 7 times counterclockwise and then place a hand through the hole you can summon the ghost of the black nun. A worn Celtic cross (rounded with a hole in the centre) marks her grave at the west end of the main church. This woman was a gifted prophet who predicted that a red haired priest would come from far away to say mass in the church at Murlock and would drown the following day at a place called the Devils churn (Pan’s rock) near Ballycastle. The prediction came to pass, as red haired Father James McCann, drowned whilst swimming off Pan’s rock after saying mass at Murlock. Other revelations about the future included “The time would come when we wouldn’t know the difference between winter and summer except for the leaves on the trees. The infamous Black Nun also made similar prophesies to the Nostradamus ‘Yellow race” prophesies.

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Tiffany Apan’s St Patrick’s Day questionaire,

What do the Irish mean to you ?
Well, aside from having it as part of my lineage, the history behind not only the Irish but the ancient Celts is a great interest of mine, particularly because it is shrouded in so much mystery. I’ve been doing much research on the subject for my book series, The Birthrite, as well as my forthcoming musical release, Antiquity.

Have you ever been to a rousing Irish musical/cultural event?
Oh yeah. They are loads of fun, especially if you are contributing musically. 🙂

Have you been to any Irish pubs? What is your opinion of Guinness? Have you samples Irish food?
I have been to a couple and I do like Guinness, though I’m much more of a wine person than I am a beer person. As for sampling the food, I have cooked a few Irish inspired dishes.

Have you ever been moved by a film set in Ireland/or about Irish culture?
The scenery alone is breathtaking, and I think that the rather tragic history surrounding Ireland adds to that atmosphere, even if the film itself isn’t necessarily a tragic one.

Have you ever celebrated St Patrick’s day?
I have, but in recent years, it’s more about studying the history and developing an understanding for the richness of the culture, especially the ancient ones. I discuss much of this and other subjects at my blog, http://tiffanyapanwritingproject.blogspot.com . Also check out my work at my website, http://tiffanyapan.com .

Castle Blood  Photo by Malcolm Gittins,   ebook_cover_1

Part of a St Patrick’s Day blog hop, read other articles by writers and bloggers.

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You gotta love the Irish !

yOU GOT TO LOVE THE iRISH SMALL

The Irish seem to have left their imprint all over the world. I can claim to have a modicum of Irish blood, going back to a great grandmother (who was well dead by the time I was born). I have only spent a long weekend in Ireland, a quick trip with friends to Dublin, in February. I deeply recall sheets of icy cold rain tested our resistance to freezing Irish style weather. I have memories of a busker who made spontaneous lyrics about passersby.

However you don’t necessarily have to visit Ireland to feel the spirit of the Irish. For one thing their pubs seem to have spread far and wide. Sitting in a pub in Paris called Carrs, just before a rugby match, some musicians came in and started playing, people joining in, and singing along to traditional songs. I felt inexplicably roused by this unanticipated occurrence. Was the Irish part of me coming to the fore?

While living in Vienna, a friend got wind that a new Irish pub was about to open and what’s more this said pub was going offer free drinks…until ten o’clock. This of course was an invitation not to be missed. We trooped into the pub and by ten o’clock every part of our table was surrounded by drinks. However it transpired my friend had been misinformed and there was no such deadline for the free drinks…as it was free drinks the whole night long. We felt a bit foolish.

I have had two Irish girlfriends,  they could not have been more different in personality.  One was very happy go lucky, casual about life, didn’t want to get too attached…the other the absolute opposite, very intense and far too clingy.

Other Irish memories…each year there is the fete de la musique, and annually one of the events we would systematically go to was the music at The Irish College in Paris. The forecourt would resound to the sound of typical Irish musical instruments, some of the audience would be seated taking in the music in a leisurely way, while many at the front would be dancing like crazy.

No, you have got to love the Irish.

Check out other interesting articles on this St Patrick’s Day bloghop.

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