They might not know when something is craic but all of these celebs hail from the ‘old country’, even if the link is a couple of generations back. Is having a grandparent born in Ireland enough though to claim Irish ancestry and wax lyrical about the Emerald Isle? Some celebrities make much of their Irish heritage, while others still; keep it hidden from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Here is a list of top 10 celebs you never knew were Irish.
10. The Fab Four
The Beatles, well Paul, John and George at least, all have one grandparent who is Irish. John Lennon is said to have given thousands of pounds to further the cause of the IRA and Paul McCartney gave the world the ditty, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”.
9. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey, international songstress and Latino pop sensation was born to an African-America/ Venezuelan father and all-Irish mother, making her one of the biggest Irish celebs to have never lived in the ‘old sod’. Mariah credits her Irish mother Patricia Hickey as being one of the most influential people in her rise to fame.
8. Robert De Niro
Three of Robert De Niro’s grandparents were born in Ireland so despite the Italian surname and the megastars penchant for playing Mafia villains in many of his films, he is actually a true son of Ireland.
7. Chuck Norris
Claiming Irish ancestry through his parents as well as paternal grandfather the iconic star of countless B-grade films and Walker Texas Ranger is as Irish as they come.
6. Kenneth Brannagh
The great Shakespearean and classical English actor was actually born in 1960 in Belfast. There are a number of so-called English actors who were born and raised in Ireland.
5. David Bowie
Of Irish descent courtesy of his mother, Mary Margaret Burns. Many famous English celebrities have strong ties to Ireland because their parents were born there and immigrated to Ireland after WWII.
4. Piers Morgan
Piers’ father was born in County Offaly and died when he was a year old. Piers Morgan’s mammy is one Gabrielle O’Meara, although he took his Welsh stepfather’s surname for his own.
3. Van Morrison
Van Morrison was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland in 1945 and lived their throughout his childhood and teenage years, only leaving to make it big during the late 1960’s. Although he became famous only after touring America he always acknowledged his Irish roots and heritage as playing a part in his music.
2. Sir Michael Gambon
Not many people know that Sir Michael Gambon, who plays Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, was born and raised in Dublin before attending RADA in London as a young man. The star of the Harry Potter epic considers himself an Irish actor at heart.
1. Barack Obama
His great-great-great-great grandfather was Irish and lived in Moneygall before emigrating in the 1850’s. The link between American politics and Irish heritage is extremely strong. Apart from the famed and ill- fated Kennedy clan, over 20 US presidents can claim Irish ancestry.