For such a small country, we have plenty of majestic things to thank the Emerald Isle for. From lucky leprechauns and shamrocks to pots of gold and four-leaf clovers, Ireland really is the gift that keeps on giving. And of course, they gave us our favorite national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. So in the spirit of St. Patrick’s, we’re paying kudos to the talented celebrities that Ireland has gifted the world too.
Some of the stars on this list are loud and proud of their Irish heritage and lovingly celebrate our favorite Irish holiday too. Others on this list managed to take us by complete surprise. So let’s take a look at the talented and beautiful stars with Irish genes that crossed over the rainbow to make their mark on the world.
Zooey Deschanel is One Quirky Irish Gem
Zooey Deschanel made her mark in showbiz in the movie Almost Famous. The quirky star then became a household name in hits like Elf, 500 Days of Summer and in the sitcom New Girl. So, despite her French-sounding last name, and Californian girl persona, Zooey can actually trace her roots back to Ireland.
Zooey’s mom, Mary Jo Deschanel was originally born with an Irish-sounding name, Mary Josephine Weir. In fact, her paternal grandma descended from Irish ancestry. Her mom then married her dad, Caleb Deschanel who added the French seasoning to the mix. Of course, she soon won over Irish fans thanks to her Irish ancestry and is a regular fixture in the Irish media.
Macklemore is Loud and Proud About His Irishness
Award-winning American rapper, Macklemore rose to mainstream fame with his single “Thrift Shop” in 2013. He then cemented his stardom with hits like “Can’t Hold Us” and is now onto his fourth album. Amazingly, his real name is actually Ben Haggerty, and he is as Irish as they come.
Ben Haggerty is a Seattle native but is very proud of his Irish family heritage. In 2012, the star celebrated his roots with the song “Irish Celebration.” The rapper has since performed many times in Ireland and said, “My family’s history comes from Ireland so to get that type of love felt like a homecoming, a community of people whose support for my music would only be rivaled by my own of Seattle.”
Amy Adams Starred in an Irish-themed Movie
Actress Amy Adams won us all over in her breakthrough role, Drop Dead Gorgeous. She then climbed the Hollywood ranks in hits like Catch Me If You Can, Enchanted, American Hustle and Vice. She’s now one of the highest-paid actresses in the world and so proud of her Irish heritage that she starred in an Irish-themed film.
In 2010. the American-Irish beauty starred in an Irish-themed hit, Leap Year. Although some fans felt the movie played on old stereotypes, it has since become a cult hit. Amy is still very proud to be associated with her Irish roots and once said, “It’s just very homey in Ireland. It’s very comforting and comfortable. There’s lots of fireplaces with fires.”
Kurt Cobain Had an Affinity With Ireland
Late American singer and guitarist, Kurt Cobain left a legacy like no other as the frontman for the rock band Nirvana. The iconic star has been hailed as one of the most influential alternative rock musicians of all time. He also has Irish ancestors and held Ireland very close to his heart.
Way back when, in 1875, Kurt’s ancestors originally emigrated from Carrickmore, County Tyrone to Canada and then to Washington. The late singer had an affinity with Ireland, due to his Irish roots and his sister once explained, “I know he really enjoyed it here, he did come and I think he was trying to look more into his roots and where he came from. I’m sure his Irish roots influenced his art.”
Olivia Wilde Applied For Dual Irish Citizenship
American star, Olvia Wilde made a name for herself as Remy on the medical series House. You can also spot her in movie hits like Drinking Buddies, Rush and Love the Coopers. Interestingly, Olivia Wilde is just a stage name. Her real name is Olivia Cockburn and she is deeply connected to her Irish roots.
Olivia grew up in a neighborhood in Washington D.C. Her father was raised in Ireland and Olivia spent her summers growing up in Ardmore in County Waterford Ireland. She once said, “It was amazing. I feel like the luckiest child in the world because I got to grow up there. So, she later decided to study in Ireland “to maintain the connection” with her Irish heritage. After this, she applied for dual American, Irish citizenship.
Keanu Reeves Has an Intriguing Family History
Actor, Keanu Reeves shot to fame in the late 80s and 90s in the Bill and Ted franchise. The seasoned star then earned his title as a Hollywood legend in movies like Speed, and The Matrix and the John Wick movie franchises. Interestingly, Keanu was originally born in Beirut and has a pretty interesting family background.
Keanu’s father is an American from Hawai, and it has been well-publicized that his father is of Chinese descent too. However, it has escaped our radar that he also has Irish roots. When Irish fans found out about the Hollywood legend’s association with the Emerald Isle, they have been quick to show their appreciation. Keanu is now regularly celebrated in the Irish media.
Mischa Barton Says Ireland Touches Her Soul
Actress Mischa Barton became a household name as Marissa Cooper on the Fox T.V series, The O.C, and became the “IT” girl of the nineties. She followed this up with movies like St.Trinians, The Beautiful Life: TBL and Star-Crossed. The actress was also raised in London, to an Irish mother, before emigrating to the US and growing up in New York.
Mischa now holds three different citizenships, as she retained her Irish citizenship since her mother is Irish. She also holds a British and American passport but is still proud of her Irish family and roots. In 2012, she got the chance to perform in an Irish production of Steel Magnolias and said “I am really excited about getting back to Northern Ireland. There’s something about that place that touches my soul.”
Jenny McCarthy is The Luckiest Leprechaun
American actress, model, and TV host, Jenny McCarthy has enjoyed a long and lucky career in showbiz. Jenny has now graced movies like Scream 3 and Santa Baby and most recently she has been a judge on the show The Masked Singer. She was originally born in Chicago with a noticeably Irish-sounding last name.
So you’ll be pleased to know that Jenny McCarthy also has Irish ancestry. Just like Hollywood actress cousin, Melissa McCarthy, Jenn’s ancestors emigrated from Ireland in the 1920s. As you can see, Jenny is more than proud to dress up as a lucky leprechaun and celebrate her Irish heritage for St Patrick’s Day!
Colin Farrell Took a DNA Test to See How Irish He Is
Hollywood heartthrob, Colin Farrell is another proud Irish actor on our list. He landed his breakthrough Hollywood role in the movie In Bruges in 2008. From there, the star achieved critical acclaim for hits like Horrible Bosses, Seven Psychopaths, True Detective, and The Lobster.
Farell was originally born in Dublin and studied acting at The Gaiety School of Acting. Now that he is a seasoned Hollywood star, Colin hasn’t forgotten his Irish roots. He recently told TV host Jimmy Kimmell that he took a DNA test to find out how Irish he is, and thankfully for everyone, he is “98.7% Irish.”
Abigail Breslin Won us Over With Her Irish Charms
American actress and singer, Abigail Breslin started her career in the limelight as a child star. She featured in her first film at five years old and has continued to wow Hollywood in hits like Little Miss Sunshine, My Sister’s Keeper, and Zombieland: Double Tap. She also has an Irish claim to fame.
Abigail was originally born and raised in New York City and her father is of Irish descent. Obviously, when her Irish fans learned of her heritage, she won over a whole new audience. She is proudly celebrated in the Irish media for her association with the country, and it just shows Ireland is the gift that keeps giving to the world of showbiz.
Josh Hartnett’s Irish Roots Has Influenced His Movie Choices
Hollywood heartthrob, Josh Hartnett made a name for himself in the 90s in the series Cracker. He then landed his breakthrough movie role in Pearl Harbor and followed this with hits like Lucky Number Slevin and Inherit The Viper. Josh is another member of the Irish clan, which has influenced some of the roles he has taken.
Josh’s father is half Irish and his stepmother is from the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, so he revealed how he has “spent quite a bit of time in Ireland.” In 2014 Josh filmed the Gothic horror series, Penny Dreadful, which gave him the chance to spend more time filming in Ireland too. He clearly has an affinity with the Emerald Isle, as he also filmed an Irish-themed film She’s Missing in 2019.
Nicole Kidman Is Happy She Looks Irish
Award-winning Australian actress, Nicole Kidman has enjoyed a long and seasoned career in tinsel town. She broke out as a Hollywood star in 1989 in Dead Calm and continued to win us over in hits like Days of Thunder, Moulin Rouge, Australia, and Big Little Lies. The heavenly star can also trace her roots back to Ireland.
Nicole was originally born in Hawaii to Australian parents who were studying in America at the time. To add to the confusing mix, Nicole also has Irish ancestors who emigrated to Australia in the 1800s. Nicole is very proud of her Irish heritage and once even said that she’s happy that she “looks Irish.” She also made a convincing Irish immigrant when she starred alongside Tom Cruise in the Irish-themed film, Far and Away.
Liam Hemsworth Couldn’t Be Prouder of His Irish Heritage
Liam Hemsworth is another Australian actor who made it big in showbiz. After starting out on the Australian soap Neighbors, he then made a name for himself in Hollywood in The Hunger Games series and in Independence Day: Resurgence. Liam also has Irish roots and he is hugely proud of his ancestry.
Liam’s recently revealed on Instagram that “my grandma is Irish and I couldn’t be prouder.” When he was still with Miley Cirus, the celeb duo threw a huge St. Patrick’s Day bash and it was super extra. The pair rocked it out with shamrocks, leprechauns, green balloons, and rainbows and could be any louder or prouder about their love for all things Irish.
Deborah Ann Woll Won Over Her Irish Fans
American actress, Deborah Ann Woll became a household name in the series True Blood. She has also made her mark in movies like The Automatic Hate and Escape Room and series like Daredevil and The Punisher. Although Deborah is very much a Brooklyn gal, she also has Irish ancestors.
Deborah can trace her roots back to Ireland and she shares some of the same features as her Irish counterparts and looks very Irish. Of course, many Irish fans were overjoyed when she starred in the Marvel series Daredevil, which has some references to the American-Irish, Catholic community.
Robert Downey Jr. Loves to Celebrate His Irishness
Hollywood icon, Robert Downey Jr. made his movie debut at the age of five in Pound and is now one of the highest-paid actors in the world. Robert has countless credits to his name, like Weird Science, Chaplin, and Sherlock Holmes and the Iron Man series. The Brooklyn native is also one-quarter Irish.
Although he only has a fraction of Irishness in his blood, Robert couldn’t be prouder and recently said, “I have Irish blood coursing through my veins.” Although he admitted that he can’t always find time in his busy schedule to visit, he’s still happy to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the most extra way. He recently shared this photo dressed in an Irish-themed onesie and said: “I can’t wait to see you all at the parade.”
Rooney Mara Feels Completely at Home in Ireland
Actress Rooney Mara gained worldwide recognition after starring in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She then continued to impress us in hits like Her, Carol and the biblical drama, Mary Magdalene. And, just like her Irish-sounding name suggests, Rooney also has a deep association with Ireland.
Mara was born in New York into two prominent American families; The Rooneys who founded The New York Giants and the Mara’s who founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. Interestingly, both sides have Irish ancestors and her mother’s side can be traced to County Down. Her granduncle, Dan Rooney was also the Ambassador to Ireland. In 2017, Mara filmed an Irish-based film, Una and said, “I felt completely at home in Ireland.”
Conan O’Brien is 100% Irish
American talk show host and comedian, Conan O’Brien started out as a writer for Saturday Night Live. He jumped into the limelight in shows like Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and since 2010 he has been hosting his show, Conan, on TBS. Conan is also proud of his Irish-American roots.
Conan was born in Massachusetts into a proud American-Irish Catholic family. His ancestors emigrated to America from Dublin around 150 years ago. While he’s happy to celebrate St.Patricks Day every year, Conan recently took a DNA test to see how Irish he really is. And his stunned doctor revealed, “you’re 100% Irish. I’ve never seen a 100 percent anything.”
Bridget Moynahan is Another Talented Irish Beauty
American actress, Bridget Moynahan started her career as a model. The brunette beauty then made her TV debut in SATC as the recurring role of Natasha. From there, she graced series like Blue Bloods and movies like Coyote Ugly, Prey, and the John Wick series. Bridget is another Irish talent on our list.
Bridget was born in Binghamton, New York, and her parents were Irish-American immigrants. Bridget is proud of her Irish heritage and can often be spotted at Irish-themed events. She was recently pictured at the Ireland Funds Women in Leadership breakfast in New York.
Dakota Fanning is Another Member of the Irish Clan
Hollywood actress, Dakota Fanning started her career as a child star and rose to prominence in the movie I am Sam. She has since graced many TV shows and movies like Friends, ER, the Twilight Saga, Ocean’s 8 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Dakota can also trace her roots to the Emerald Isle.
Dakota was originally born in Georgia, along with her equally famous sister, Elle Fanning. On her father’s side, he can trace his ancestors back to Ireland. In 2018, Dakota got the chance to spend time in Dublin filming the movie Sweetness in The Belly, which of course pleased many of her Irish fans.
Jodie Foster Makes Her Irish Fans Proud
Acting legend, Jodie Foster made her acting debut at the age of six in 1968 in the sitcom Mayberry R.F.D. She then secured her position as a Hollywood icon in hits like Taxi Driver, Bugsy Malone, The Silence of The Lambs and The Brave One. She’s now turned her attention to directing and is unstoppable. The talented actress also has Irish ancestry.
Jodie was originally born in LA, California and her father descended from a prominent Chicago-based family that had emigrated to America in the 1600s. She can also trace her ancestors back to Ireland. Of course, since Jodie has been hailed as one of the “greatest actresses of her generation,” her Irish fans are more than proud to call her one of their own.
Evanna Lynch is a Homegrown Irish Talent
Evanna Lynch is another homegrown Irish talent to add to our list. The actress rose to fame as the quirky Hogwarts student Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series and continued to win us over in films like My Name is Emily and shows like Dancing with the Stars.
Evanna was originally born in County Louth in Ireland as a devout Catholic. After landing her dream role in the Harry Potter Series, the Irish talent then moved to America to make her mark. Amazingly, while she still feels Irish, Evanna said that she’s played American roles for so long, that she’s now being told, “to be more Irish.” It seems like Hollywood loves the Irish charm so let’s hope she takes their advice.
Allison Hannigan is Another Enchanting Irish Star
American actress, Allison Hannigan became a household name as Willow Rosenberg on the cult TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She then continued to impress us with her charms in the American Pie movie series and of course, How I Met Your Mother. The enchanting actress also has Irish roots.
Allison was originally born in Washington D.C and her father can trace his ancestors back to Ireland. The flame-haired beauty happily celebrates her Irish heritage and is a big fan of wearing green, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. She also named her daughter Keeva, a spin-off of a traditional Gaelic name, but added her own twist as she said, “I can’t even spell the actual Gaelic version [Caoimhe].”
Sarah Hyland is Down with the Irish Traditions
American actress and singer, Sarah Hyland is another shamrock star to add to our list. She captured all our hearts as Hayley Dunphy on the long-running ABC sitcom, Modern Family. Sarah also made an impression in movies like XOXO and the ABC remake of the classic film, Dirty Dancing.
The American star has Irish ancestors on her father’s side and has been very proud of her Irish connection. She happily celebrates St. Patrick’s Day and seems to be down with Irish humor and traditions. One St. Patrick’s Day she tweeted “Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!! Wear your green to bed so you don’t get pinched in the mornin’!”
Megan Fox is One of Ireland’s Proudest Gems
American actress and model, Megan Fox started out as a sitcom star in Hope & Faith. The sultry beauty then broke out in Hollywood in the blockbuster series, Transformers, and has recently starred in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise. She also has the luck of the Irish by her side.
Megan was born in Tennessee and she has mixed ancestry. On her father’s side, he can trace his roots back to Ireland. Of course, due to her Irish connections, her Irish fans were quick to claim the sultry beauty as one of their own and regularly celebrate her achievements in the Irish press.