It’s a known fact that there are more Irish people outside Ireland than on the island itself, so here are ten famous people you never knew had Irish roots.
We all know the usual suspects, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, and, of course, Barrack Obama, but what about all the rest.
Countries such as Australia, Canada, and the USA have millions of citizens who claim Irish descent, and it’s not surprising considering our nation’s history of emigration.
There are quite a few people you may never have guessed had Irish roots, so we are here to bring you the scoop.
Here are ten famous people you never knew had Irish roots.
10. Christina Aguilera – pop princess
Christina Aguilera is famous for her hits Genie in a Bottle and Beautiful, but we bet you didn’t know she actually has Irish roots on her mother’s side.
Her father is Ecuadorian, and her mother comes from mixed heritage, including Irish.
She grew up in Irish communities in both New York and Pennsylvania, and her mother Shelley Kearns nèe Fidler, raised her as a single parent until she remarried.
9. Rooney Mara – American actress
Rooney comes from a long line of Irish ancestors considering both her parents are of Irish descent.
She grew up in New York, which has been a popular place for Irish emigration over the years, and her ancestors hail from Newry, County Down.
8. Jimi Hendrix – one of the best guitarists of all time
One of the best guitar players of all time, yes, we all know him. But we bet you didn’t know Jimi Hendrix actually has Irish roots.
As well as African American and Cherokee heritage, Hendrix is Irish on his father’s side. His paternal great grandfather was, in fact, a Moore.
7. John Travolta – a much-beloved actor
Travolta is Italian American on his dad’s side, but he also has Irish roots that he gets from his mother.
He grew up in an Irish American household and had a very Irish upbringing as a Roman Catholic but changed to Scientology later in life.
6. Meryl Streep – one of the best actresses of all time
Known as the greatest actress of her generation, Meryl Streep has a mix of European heritage including German and Swiss on her dad’s side and Irish and German on her mother’s side.
Her maternal great grandparents Manus McFadden and Grace Strain were from Horn Head in Dunfanaghy, County Donegal.
5. Ben Affleck – a famous American actor
The star of movies such as Gone Girl and Pearl Harbour, Ben Affleck is one of Hollywood’s leading men.
As far as his heritage goes, he has a mix of Scottish, English, and German ancestry, but when it comes to Ireland, it’s his great grandmother Anna who was born in County Down.
4. Fergie – of the Black Eyed Peas
Fergie, who was born Stacy Ann Ferguson, has Irish roots as well as Scottish, English, and Mexican.
Fergie’s maternal great grandfather Arthur Gore was born in County Sligo to an Irish born father also called Arthur and an Australian born mother.
3. Mariah Carey – another pop princess
Well, we might have guessed she had some Irish roots with the last name Carey, but it was actually her Venezuelan grandfather that adopted that name when he emigrated to the States.
Her Irish roots, however, are on her mother Patricia Hickey’s side.
2. Alicia Keys – an amazing singer
Believe it or not, the singer best known for her hits such as If I Ain’t Got You and Girl on Fire, is part Irish.
Although she is predominantly African American, English, and Italian, the Irish roots fall on her great-grandmother’s side. She says that her bi-racial heritage allows her to relate to many cultures.
1. Kurt Cobain – from a line of shoemakers
The late frontman of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, has Irish ancestry.
Before he found out, he once spoke about an amazing spiritual feeling he had when visiting Ireland, and it made sense to him once he knew his family’s history.
His Irish ancestors are believed to have emigrated from Carrickmore, County Tyrone in 1875 and were shoemakers by the name Cobane. Who knew?
It may not surprise you that there are many more where that came from, and the list of people with Irish heritage, whether they’re famous or not, keeps growing.
It’s because of these people around the world who have looked into their heritage and kept Irish culture alive abroad that so many people continue to be interested in finding out their own ancestry.
It wasn’t that long ago when Barrack Obama himself came to Ireland to retrace his heritage in Moneygall, County Offaly – weren’t we all delighted with that?
You never know who else will cross the pond next to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and of course, try a real pint of Guinness.