Famous Irish-Americans

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is Irish! While the holiday is celebrated around the world, people in the US take the holiday, and perhaps the excuse to drink a little extra beer, to the next level.

In honor of the day, let’s take a look at some famous Irish-Americans.

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy might be one of the most famous Irish-Americans. In fact, at the time of his campaign for president in 1960, some people hesitated to vote for him due to ethnic and religious discrimination against Irish-Americans.

However, Kennedy never shied away from his heritage. In fact, when he was president, he took a historic trip to Ireland and visited several places, including his ancestral home in Dunganstown, in Wexford. His great-great-great grandfather was born here, and the Kennedy family still owns the property.

The Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of the Kennedy clan (StreetView)
The Kennedy Homestead, ancestral home of the Kennedy clan

Taking his Irish heritage seriously, Kennedy and his wife Jackie named their beautiful Virginia estate Wexford, after his ancestral home. Sadly, the home on the 166-acre farm outside Washington, DC was completed only a few weeks before he was assassinated in November 1963.

The home, with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, had been designed by Jackie herself as a retreat for the family, and was a perfect getaway for the talented equestrian. Ronald and Nancy Reagan rented the home during their presidential transition in late 1980. It sold a few years ago for just under $3 million, well below the $4+million asking price.

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy's House (Former) (Bing Maps)
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy's House (Former)

Barack Obama

You might not realize it, but Barack Obama has Irish heritage! A true American in the sense that his heritage includes many waves of immigrants, his great-great-great-grandfather came the US in 1850, one of millions who fled economic hardship and chased the hope of a better life across the ocean.

Obama and his wife Michelle own several homes across the US, but after they left the White House in 2017, they took up residence just a few miles away, in the tony Kalorama neighborhood of DC. They first rented, then bought, this gorgeous brick mansion, for about $8 million. Jeff Bezos lives in the neighborhood, along with several diplomats, the Kushners, and more. The house has more than 8,000 square feet; plenty of room to enjoy their privacy after eight years in the limelight of the presidency.

Barack & Michelle Obama's Post-White House House (Birds Eye)
Barack & Michelle Obama's Post-White House House

Alec Baldwin

A man who has reigned in Hollywood for decades, and even portrayed a president on television, Alec Baldwin is one of the most famous Irish-Americans. He’s spoken several times about how his Irish Catholic upbringing influences him now, and even named his daughter Ireland!

Alec and his wife Hilaria live with their seven kids in Vermont, having moved here in 2022, leaving behind the Hamptons in New York, and taking up a more rural, family-centered life up north. The 55-acre estate has a main house listed as having three bedrooms, but there’s got to be plenty of space for seven kids among the 3,600 square feet of living space. And if it’s not enough, there’s an 1,800 square foot guest house!

Alec Baldwin's House (Google Maps)
Alec Baldwin's House

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey (just like her big sister Emily) is another famous Irish-American actor. She grew up in Los Angeles, with a director dad an actress mother; her career choice is basically a family business.

In 2019, she started dating another famous sibling, Jonathan Scott, who works with his identical twin brother Drew in the property business. The two, along with Zooey’s kids from a previous marriage, bought a gorgeous home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles in 2020. They dropped a stunning $9.5 million for the 6,500 square-foot home on a one-acre lot. It’s in a great location, has an amazing yard that includes a pool and tennis court, and gorgeous, spunky interior that perfectly fits the couple’s personalities.

Zooey Deschanel & Jonathan Scott's House (Google Maps)
Zooey Deschanel & Jonathan Scott's House

Michael Flatley

While everyone knows Michael Flatley, the famous Irish dancer, what may be a surprise is that he was actually born in the US, not the Emerald Isle! His parents both emigrated to the US, where they met at an Irish dance hall (of course) and got married. They passed their love of Irish dance to their son, and the rest is history.

He got his break on the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, and created a dance troupe that toured the world for decades. He set a Guinness World Record (fitting for an Irishman) for the fastest feet, tapping 32 times per second!

With a remarkable estimated net worth of more than $350 million, he retired to an impressive Irish mansion called Castlehyde house. It’s reported to be more than 50,000 square feet, and has a long and storied history. While he’s tried to sell it from time to time, and can’t live there right now due to poor repairs after a fire, he’s committed to keeping it and getting it fixed.

Michael Flatley’s House (Google Maps)
Michael Flatley’s House

The Irish have a strong heritage in the US, and they have done so much to make the country a wonderful melting pot of culture, tradition, and experiences. On St. Patrick’s Day, have a drink to celebrate the Irish in all of us, and may the Irish blessing prove true for you:

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

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