25 Celebrities Who Are Proud of Their Irish Heritage

No need to wait for St. Patrick's Day to applaud these most dazzling celebrities, all of whom have ancestral ties to the Emerald Isle, which they consider integral to their cultural and ethnic identities. There are tons of talented actors, musicians, and athletes who are proud to claim their Irish roots, and sometimes they use their public platform to show it. What better time than now to recognize some of these Irish gems!

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It's always nice to see celebrities be proud of their heritage and values. From Colin Farrell, who wears his Irish roots like a badge of honor, to Saoirse Ronan, who has worn green to major awards ceremonies as a tribute to Ireland, and Daniel Day-Lewis and Bono, who have explored the real-life experiences of their countrymen via film and music, these Celtic cuties shamrock our world. 

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However they choose to pay homage to their homeland, it's pretty awesome that they do. Many of them have even gone back to visit Ireland and learn more about their heritage (which sounds amazing, by the way)! 

Here are 25 famous faces with an Irish background who are not afraid to claim it! 

  • Colin Farrell

    1

    Few actors are as vocal about their pride for their country as Ireland-born Colin Farrell. "Being Irish is very much a part of who I am," the Dublin-born actor has said. "I take it everywhere with me." Though he now lives primarily in Los Angeles, Farrell feels incredibly connected to his homeland. "The depth of our cultural complexities, our music, literature, community, and the pain that we share means that I could be away from there for 50 years, and I wouldn't feel any less Irish."

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  • Saoirse Ronan

    2

    Brooklyn star and Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan celebrated her Irish heritage at the 2016 Oscars by donning a sequined emerald green Calvin Klein Collection gown. Reminiscing about her first Academy Awards appearance in 2008, when she was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress for her work in Atonement, Ronan said, "I wore green back then too because I'm proud to be Irish."

  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers

    3

    "Being Irish is special," said Jonathan Rhys Meyers while accepting the Irish Post Legend Award in 2014. Best known for his remarkable depiction of Henry VIII on Showtime's The Tudors, the actor said of his rural upbringing in Cork, Ireland, "There was something about Irish country people, something about the land, that really made me very proud."

  • Bono

    4

    The Dublin-born U2 frontman addressed the deadly sectarian violence plaguing his beloved nation when writing 1983's "Sunday Bloody Sunday." Then in 2010 when the inquiry into 1972's Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry was finally published, Bono penned a New York Times op-ed: "If there are any lessons for the world from this piece of Irish history, it’s this: things are quick to change for the worse and slow to change for the better, but they can," he wrote. 

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  • Anna Kendrick

    5

    While promoting her film Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick said of her Irish-American father, "He is very into being Irish and loving [playwright and screenwriter] Martin McDonagh." Presumably, Kendrick can deliver a pitch-perfect "Danny Boy" rendition!

  • Michael Fassbender

    6

    Call it the luck of the Irish, but Michael Fassbender has been on a golden streak lately, earning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave and a 2016 Best Actor nomination for Steve Jobs. Born to an Irish mother, Fassbender has made it top priority to support Irish endeavors, regularly attending the Irish Film & Television Awards and starring in a pretty epic Guinness commercial.

  • Mischa Barton

    7

    She may have risen to fame in the teen drama The O.C., but actress Mischa Barton clearly has a deeper connection to Northern Ireland, her mother's homeland, than Orange County, California. In 2012, when Barton made her Irish stage debut in a production of Steel Magnolias, she gushed, "There's something about Northern Ireland that really touches my soul."

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  • Jamie Dornan

    8

    Best known as the debonair, intriguing, bondage-loving millionaire Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan hails from the suburbs of Belfast. Dornan first made a name for himself as a model, stripping down to his undies for Calvin Klein ads before transitioning into acting and earning acclaim for his portrayal of a serial killer in BBC's The Fall.

  • Bridget Moynahan

    9

    Much like her character on CBS's Blue Bloods, Bridget Moynahan hails from a tight-knit Irish family. Like the fictional Boyle family, Moynahan's family gathered every Sunday for family dinners. As a nod to these dinner gatherings, Moynahan co-authored The Blue Bloods Cookbook in 2015, including recipes from the show as well as from her family.

  • Ed Burns

    10

    Growing up in a working-class, Irish-American, devoutly Catholic family in New York City informed Ed Burns's most memorable works: 1995's The Brothers McMullen, 1996's She's The One, and 2012's The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, all of which he wrote, directed, and starred in. "We've never really seen the Irish-American experience," Burns said back when The Brothers McMullen emerged as a Sundance darling. "I want to see people like my friends in films. Maybe I won't make the big bucks, but it'll make me happy."

  • Anne Hathaway

    11

    Plump-lipped beauty Anne Hathaway fell in love with Ireland, her dad's homeland, while filming 2004's Ella Enchanted and 2007's Becoming Jane on the Emerald Isle. "Ireland is such an amazing country, and I have this little dream in the back of my head that someday I'll end up living there," the Devil Wears Prada star has said. "I feel very Irish — maybe that's why I've been so lucky with my career!"

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  • Evanna Lynch

    12

    Celebrated as one of Ireland's great acting exports, Termonfeckin native Evanna Lynch worked her magic as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series. She went on to star in the comedy G.B.F. and the Irish indie My Name Is Emily.

  • Liam Neeson

    13

    The Irish Film & Television Academy honored Liam Neeson with the Outstanding Contribution to Cinema award at the 2016 IFTA Awards. The Irish star's filmography includes Schindler's List, Love Actually, Gangs of New York, and Taken. He first distinguished himself in 1996's Michael Collins, in which he played the title character, who famously fought against English occupation and played a key role in the 1916 Easter Rising.

  • Olivia Wilde

    14

    Born Olivia Jane Cockburn, this leading lady is the daughter of Irish journalist Andrew Cockburn and American news writer Leslie Cockburn. The Revlon spokesperson and star of HBO's Vinyl chose her stage name as a tribute to Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. Both an American and Irish citizen, Wilde spent a year studying at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin before moving to LA. "There's a certain humility that goes with the acting business in Dublin that I could not have learned elsewhere," she told People magazine.

  • Christina Aguilera

    15

    The Voice host Christina Aguilera told Latina magazine in March 2012, "I'm split right down the middle, half Irish and half Ecuadorean." According to Aguilera's mom, Shelly Kearns, the "Beautiful" singer is incredibly proud of her mixed heritage. "A lot of people get all in a fuss about Christina wanting to explore her Latin side, but that's only logical," Kearns told Irish America magazine. "Irish customs have always been a big part of our lives, so she had no need to go exploring them."

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  • Pierce Brosnan

    16

    Hollywood leading man Pierce Brosnan hails from Navan, a town 30 miles from Dublin. At age 11, he went to live with his mom to London. "I had to have some balls to be Irish Catholic in South London," Brosnan said in a 2004 Men's Health interview. "Most of that time I spent fighting." In other interviews, the actor has credited his "strong faith as a Catholic Irish" for helping him cope with hard times in his life and thanked his "good Irish genes" for his youthful good looks at age 62.

  • Ryan Reynolds

    17

    "With brothers named Terry and Patrick, I'm pretty damn Irish!" the Deadpool star said during an interview with Movies.ie. Named People magazine's Sexiest Dad Alive in 2016, Reynolds has relatives in Dublin and Galway.

  • Cillian Murphy

    18

    Born in the Douglas suburb of Cork city in Ireland, the blue-eyed actor first made a splash stateside when he starred in 2002's zombie thriller 28 Days Later. Though he's starred in quite a few Hollywood hits (from The Dark Knight to Inception), Murphy says he enjoys working on indie films in his native Ireland as much as filming major blockbusters.

  • Abigail Breslin

    19

    Both parents of Little Miss Sunshine star Abigail Breslin have Irish lineage. Now all grown up, Breslin recently starred in Ryan Murphy's horror-comedy Scream Queens and played Baby in a three-hour live musical version of Dirty Dancing on ABC. Colt Prattes filled Patrick Swayze's shoes as Johnny. Hey Colt, kiss her, she's Irish!

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  • John Travolta

    20

    John's mother is Irish American and he's actually been to Ireland to learn more about his heritage. He has said:

    “I’m half Irish. My mother’s people came from Kenmare in Co. Kerry and I’ve been down there to research where they lived. We’re related to Burkes and Murphys on her side, and I researched all the connections that there were."

  • Mariah Carey

    21
    While her dad is of African American/Venezuelan descent, Mariah's mom, Patricia Hickey, is Irish. Mariah once said: "My mother's white -- she's so Irish, she loves Ireland, she's like, yay, Ireland! Waving the flag and singing 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.' And that's great. I appreciate that and respect it."
  • Tom Cruise

    22

    According to Irish Central, Tom has traveled to Ireland and traced his heritage back to Dublin. He was given an honorary Certificate of Irishness in 2013. 

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  • Conor McGregor

    23

    Mixed martial artist Conor McGregor reps hard for Ireland in an Instagram post of him standing next to an Irish flag, he wrote:

    "170 years ago today Ireland's Tri-colour was first raised! I've raised it high and with pride since! The green for the south. The orange for parts of the north. And the White is for the peace that we have between borders as a connected nation. I have multiple blood soaked Tri-colour flags that I have taken back from battle, on home and foreign soil. Ireland is a nation that has proven its ability to fight. A nation that has fought to be free. Either border. We are a power nation. Ireland I love you and everything about you."

  • Will Ferrell

    24

    Will has Irish roots in County Longford, according to Irish Centralwhere his family emigrated from and changed the spelling of their last name from Farrell. The comedian once joked in a skit: 

    “I’m committed to my Irish roots. James Joyce spent a lot of his time living outside of Ireland, I too have spent a lot of time living outside of Ireland. But it doesn’t make me any less Irish. I’m so committed in fact that I will continue to drive on the left-hand side of the road. Will it be dangerous? Yes. Is it illegal? Highly. But that is how committed I am.”

  • Chris Evans

    25

    He may play Captain America, but Chris Evans is still really proud to be Irish. Chris Evans once compared himself to the character, saying: 

    "There are a lot of similarities between us. I was raised a good Catholic Irish boy at heart, so was ‘Cap.' Our sensibilities and ideologies come from that. That sense of morality, very much stems from that."

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