Famous Irish Americans

This list includes famous Irish Americans of both today and throughout history, hot pics included! (Famous Irish people take great photos.) All of the most important Irish Americans are listed, and additional biographical data is included for many.

Irish immigrants are part of the fabric that is the great American melting pot. Many arrived in America during the early to mid 1800s, following the Great Irish Famine. Important Irish people in the US include many leading entertainers, renowned authors, and distinguished politicians (including, of course, JFK).
Ranked by
  • Ada Dyas
    Dec. at 65 (1843-1908)
    Ada Dyas (1843-1908) was an Irish actress. She made her London debut in 1861 in Henry IV, and became famous in the 1871 play based on Wilkie Collins's novel The Woman in White.
  • Ada Rehan
    Dec. at 56 (1859-1916)
    Ada Rehan (April 22, c. 1857 – January 8, 1916) was an American actress and comedian who typified the "personality" style of acting in the nineteenth century.
  • Aedanus Burke
    Dec. at 58 (1743-1802)
    Aedanus Burke (16 June 1743 – 30 March 1802) was a soldier, judge, and United States Representative from South Carolina.
  • Aidan Quinn (born March 8, 1959) is an Irish-American actor, who made his film debut in Reckless (1984). He has starred in over 80 feature films, including Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), The Mission (1986), Stakeout (1987), Avalon (1990), Benny & Joon (1993), Legends of the Fall (1994), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Michael Collins (1996), Practical Magic (1998), Song for a Raggy Boy (2003) and Unknown (2011). Quinn has received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his work in An Early Frost (1985) and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007). He played Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson in the CBS television series Elementary (2012–2019).
  • Al Smith
    Dec. at 70 (1873-1944)
    Alfred Emanuel Smith (December 30, 1873 – October 4, 1944) was an American politician who served four terms as Governor of New York and was the Democratic Party's candidate for President in 1928. Smith was the foremost urban leader of the Efficiency Movement in the United States and was noted for achieving a wide range of reforms as governor in the 1920s. The son of an Irish-American mother and a Civil War veteran father, he was raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge, where he resided for his entire life. Like many other New York politicians of his era, he was also linked to the notorious Tammany Hall political machine that controlled New York City's politics, although he remained personally untarnished by corruption. Smith was a strong opponent of Prohibition, which he did not think could be enforced, and viewed it as an over-extension of the government's constitutional power. He was also the first Catholic to be nominated by a major party. His candidacy mobilized Catholic votes, especially from women, who had only recently received federal suffrage. It also brought out the anti-Catholic vote, which was especially strong among white conservative Democrats in the South, although Smith was still successful within the states of the Deep South.As a committed "wet" who opposed the prohibition laws, Smith attracted two groups: those who wanted their beer, wine and liquor and did not like dealing with criminal bootleggers, and those who were outraged that new criminal gangs had taken over the streets in most large and medium-sized cities. Many Protestants feared his candidacy, including German Lutherans and Southern Baptists, believing that the Pope in Rome would dictate his policies. Incumbent Republican Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was greatly aided by national prosperity and the absence of American involvement in war; Smith lost in a landslide to him, losing six southern states but carrying the Deep South. Four years later, Smith sought the 1932 nomination but was defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, his former ally and successor as Governor of New York. Smith entered business in New York City, became involved in the construction and promotion of the Empire State Building, and became an increasingly vocal opponent of Roosevelt's New Deal.
  • Alan Dugan
    Dec. at 80 (1923-2003)
    Alan Dugan (February 12, 1923 – September 3, 2003) was an American poet.His first volume Poems published in 1961 was a chosen by the Yale Series of Younger Poets and went on to win the National Book Award for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His last volume, entitled Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry, was published in 2001 by Seven Stories Press in New York City and won Dugan a second National Book Award. Since his death in 2003, a complete volume of collected poetry has yet to appear.