Monday, 17 March 2014

Eight surprising people with Irish ancestry

Everyone can claim to be Irish today, but these people genuinely do have Irish ancestry. And some of them may surprise you.


1. Muhammad Ali

Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is thought to have descended from an Irishman who emigrated to the United States in the 1860s.

2. Robert de Niro

Actor Robert De Niro’s father was of half Italian and half Irish descent, while his mother was of English, Irish, German, French, and Dutch ancestry. His paternal grandmother, Helen O'Reilly, was the granddaughter of Edward O'Reilly, an immigrant from Ireland.

3. Ned Kelly

Famed for being the Australian equivalent of Robin Hood, Ned Kelly’s father John (known as "Red"), was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, and transported in 1841 to Tasmania for stealing two pigs.

4. Barack Obama

There’s no-one as Irish as Barack Obama - www.youtube.com/watch?v=HplZ_taHXLM We all know that Barack Obama has Kenyan roots, but the US president also has an Irish great-great-great-grandfather who emigrated Stateside in 1850.

5. Lord Kitchener

Secretary of State for War during the First World War, and now best remembered as the face on the “Your country needs you” recruitment posters, Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, was from County Kerry.

6. John Travolta

Actor John Travolta is famously Italian on his father’s side, but Travolta’s mother was of Irish descent. He grew up with Irish traditions and was a Roman Catholic before famously converting to Scientology.

7. Tom Cruise

Actor Tom Cruise can trace his heritage back to Ireland. One of his paternal great-great-great-grandfathers, Patrick Russell Cruise, was born in Ireland in 1799 and married Teresa Johnson in Warrenstown House, County Meath, in 1825. They left Ireland for America that same year.


8. Sir Ernest Shackleton

Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton led three British expeditions to the Antarctic but was actually born in Kildare.

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