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Notable Irish Americans

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  • Edward T. Colbert
    Edward T. Colbert is a noted American intellectual property litigation attorney. He has represented numerous major clients, including the Olympic Games, the U.S. Olympic Team, the Home Shopping Network...
  • Bob Fosse (1927 - 1987)
    Robert Louis “Bob” Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) was an American actor, dancer, musical theater choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director. He won an unpreceden...
  • Erika Christensen
    Erika Jane Christensen (born August 19, 1982) is an American actress and singer whose filmography includes roles in Traffic (2000), Swimfan (2002), The Banger Sisters (2002), The Perfect Score (2004)...
  • John L. Sullivan, Boxing Champion (1858 - 1918)
    John Lawrence Sullivan (October 15, 1858 – February 2, 1918), also known as the Boston Strong Boy, was recognized as the first Heavyweight Champion of gloved boxing from February 7, 1881 to 1892, and i...
  • Iggy Pop
    James Newell Osterberg Jr. (born April 21, 1947), known professionally by his stage name Iggy Pop, and designated the "Godfather of Punk," is an American singer, songwriter, musician, producer and acto...

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.