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Notable Irish Americans

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  • Chris Zylka
    Christopher Michael Settlemire (born May 9, 1985), known professionally as Chris Zylka (/ˈzɪlkə/), is an American actor and model. Wikipedia (English) := Chris Settlemire (born May 9, 1985), known pr...
  • Joel McHale
    Joel McHale is an American comedian, actor, writer, television producer, and television host. He is known for hosting The Soup and portraying Jeff Winger on the NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community . He has app...
  • Lea Thompson
    Lea Katherine Thompson (born May 31, 1961, Rochester, Minnesota)[1] is an American actress, television director, and television producer. She is best known for her role as Lorraine Baines in the Back...
  • Patton Oswalt
    Patton Oswalt is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and voice actor. He is best known for roles such as Spencer Olchin in the sitcom The King of Queens (1998-2007), voicing Remy in the film ...
  • Brian Kelly (1931 - 2005)
    Brian Kelly was an American actor best known for his role as Porter Ricks, the widowed father of two sons on the NBC television series Flipper , and as Scott Ross in the ABC adventure series Straightaw...

This project is for notable Irish Americans. For researching your own Irish American ancestry, visit the general Irish American project.


Irish Americans are an ethnic group comprising Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Ireland, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. About 33.3 million Americans—10.5% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2013 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. This compares with a population of 6.4 million on the island of Ireland.

Between 1820-2004, a total of 4,787,580 people immigrated to the United States from Ireland. Almost 1.7 million of those Irish immigrants came during and immediately after the Great Hunger/An Gorta Mór, which is more commonly known in the U.S. as the Great Famine.

Cities with large numbers of Irish immigrants include Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, St. Paul, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. According to the latest census, the Irish language ranks 66th out of the 322 languages spoken today in the U.S., with more than 25,000 speakers. New York state has the most Irish speakers of the 50 states, and Massachusetts the highest percentage.

Areas that retain a significant Irish American population include the metropolitan areas of Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Baltimore, New York City, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where most new arrivals of the 1830–1910 period settled. As a percentage of the population, Massachusetts is the most Irish state, with about a quarter, 21.2%, of the population claiming Irish descent. The most Irish American towns in the United States are Scituate, Massachusetts, with 47.5% of its residents being of Irish descent; Milton, Massachusetts, with 44.6% of its 26,000 being of Irish descent; and Braintree, Massachusetts with 46.5% of its 34,000 being of Irish descent. Weymouth, Massachusetts, at 39% of its 54,000 citizens, and Quincy, Massachusetts, at 34% of its population of 90,000, are the two most Irish cities in the country. Squantum, a peninsula in the northern part of Quincy, is the most Irish neighborhood in the country, with close to 60% of its 2600 residents claiming Irish descent.