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St. Patrick’s Day question: Who is your favorite Irish person?

March 17th, 2008 by Bill Corbett · 32 Comments

…And I mean bona fide Irishman or -woman, born on the Emerald Isle itself. I’m mostly Irish, but even though my grandparents came over to the U.S. on the proverbial boat — as huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and taste food with actual spice in it — I don’t qualify here.

My list would have to start with my grandfather, George Thompson. Grandpa George was the son of a Dublin gravedigger (true!), and an uneducated, hard-drinking longshoreman by day. On nights and weekends, he was a diehard soccer player who played other immigrant teams in Brooklyn. But he was also one of the sweetest people in my childhood — joker, singer of old Irish songs, and a surprisingly gentle guy for someone who once sent two muggers packing when he was older, by throwing one headfirst down a flight of stairs.

I’d say my second favorite Irishman was this guy…

    green beard 1 2 3

…but I’m not sure he was born there. He might be Phillipino, or perhaps Kenyan.

Here are some of your choices for favorite Irish person, all confirmed as native born:

    bernice abbott james joyce 1926
    042104 shane
    “BONO” of “U2″

…And there are many other fine choices just an O’Google away.

Who is your favorite Irish person — alive, deceased, present, or (the trickiest, I’d say) yet to be born?

Or if your Guinness buzz is wearing off, and you’re feeling cranky — who is your least favorite?

OR if you really want to be contrarian — who leaves you feeling passionately indifferent?

(But for pity’s sake, don’t mention The Troubles…)

Tags: RiffTrax

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jerk on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Man, Bono’s hasn’t been looking good lately.

  • 2 Indianadelae on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    It’s not very noble, a tad cliche, and none of my friends understand it (granted that’s because we’re all in graduate school and I’m the only one who embraces my Irish Catholic roots), but Tommy Tiernan just cracks me up.

    “The Irish dont invade, we infest… two Irish fellas come along armed with a sleeping bag… and a phone number……..go into a cottage and 2 weeks later 47 Irish people come out.”

    True story.

  • 3 karen on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    my bf is 1/4 irish. does that count? I would say Sean Connery but I think he is scottish righto? Ah. Sean as the James Bond of all James Bond.

    other option is Conan O’Brian. hes like, totally hot and a former model to boot. mmmmm…….

    hes HOT!

  • 4 Onil on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Dead – Oscar Wilde

    Alive – Stephen Rea, Garth Ennis

    Future Irish – First Irish Pope. I hope the Vatican will do the right thing and use green smoke for his announcement.

  • 5 Dave-o on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    some of my favorite irish mainstays are C.S. Lewis…he was a great writer, much deeper than the chronicles of narnia. Roy Keane…one of the most dangerous footballers out there…LOOKOUT!! almost headbutted yah. Damien Rice is great…and of course the beautiful Maureen O’Hara…love those redheads. I have to say the baddies are probably colin farrell gilbert o’sullivan and the fact that thin lizzy isnt with us anymore

  • 6 Onil on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    And also that guy with the green beard can’t be a filipino because none of us flippies can grow a beard.

    Plus he looks too tall.

  • 7 Yanni on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I can’t decide between the old Robin Williams with the green beard or the chick that looks like Natalie Portman…

  • 8 Beautiful Houndstooth on Mar 17, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Mr. Flynn my jr high algebra teacher

  • 9 MikeP on Mar 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    My favourite is whoever invented Bailey’s. Some guy named Bailey, probably. If only there was some way of looking that up, perhaps online? Alas, we may never know.

  • 10 Bill Corbett on Mar 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    I love what I’ve heard of Damien Rice.

    And what i’ve heard Colin Farrell say is “Begorrahblarghblarneyblougbnnnmplanotherpintwerrgtvgf.”

    I think that’s an accurate transcription.

  • 11 Livia on Mar 17, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    The Lucky Charms leprechaun. He always provides me with such tasty marshmallows for breakfast each morning!

  • 12 Gary A on Mar 17, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Bram Stoker will be my pick for coolest/best Irish person.
    Side note, the person who i think might be the least Irish: Vicente Fox

  • 13 Roper on Mar 18, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Jack Dempsey is my favorite famous irishman.The guy who gets his head put in a vise, in Casino, is my favorite fictitious Irish character.

  • 14 Derek on Mar 18, 2008 at 3:58 am

    Pierce Brosnan or Glen Hansard.

  • 15 SEISMIC on Mar 18, 2008 at 5:27 am

    And he’s HOT!

  • 16 NattyLite on Mar 18, 2008 at 5:32 am

    My favorite Irish-Person of the Future will be the kindly dentist who works his denturial magic on Poor Shane McGowan’s sad, sad “teeth”….Or the organ stealing limey who kidnaps ‘Ol Shane and surgically extracts his Super-High-Functioning-Liver. His liver is a medical miracle and someone needs to find out exactly what is going on there…That would be the real Pot o Gold!

  • 17 wurwolf on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Glad that day is overwith. All of the tourists in green hitting the bars and clogging up the sidewalks on 8th Avenue was annoying as all hell.

    Favorite Irish person? I have but three in the world: Father Ted, Father Dougal and Father Jack. Oh yeah, make that four! Colin Meloy!

  • 18 Onil on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Colin Meloy can go feck off…to the donut shoppe. To eat lots of donuts. LOTS.

    Cause he loves donuts.

    This next Christmas, we need jumpers like Dougal’s.

  • 19 wurwolf on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I don’t know how you can say that. Colin Meloy is whisper-thin!

  • 20 Barry on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:42 am

    I’m gonna have to go with the guy who supposedly was my great-grandfather but turned out not to be because he died three years before my grandfather was born. He’s the reason I get to have an Irish last name while actually being of French descent!

  • 21 Wiseblood on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Dylan Moran would probably be my favorite irishman.

  • 22 MSTJedi on Mar 18, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I totally second this one. Never had Irish whiskey, so I can’t comment on that particular spirit, but I love me some Bailey’s.

  • 23 Fran in the Pan on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Favorite Irish person – hmm…I guess I’d have to go for Seamus Heaney – he does a mean translation of Beowulf. I’ll be sorely disapointed if there isn’t some vague reference to him in the forthcoming riff.

  • 24 Slade Rockfist on Mar 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    My favorite Irish person is and always will be Kevin Murphy.

  • 25 Bill Corbett on Mar 18, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I love the big galoot myself. But not born in Ireland.

  • 26 Redclaire on Mar 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Just FYI, Shane McGowan wasn’t born in Ireland either- he was born in England.

  • 27 The elusive Robert Denby on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Feargal Sharkey, former lead singer of Ireland’s greatest band, the Undertones. Also possessor of one of mankind’s greatest names.

  • 28 Bill Corbett on Mar 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    D’oh! You are correct. His family was Irish, and returned when he was a baby, but — you got me.

    This post is a LIE!!

  • 29 Rufus T. on Mar 18, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Dave King is from Ireland. He is the lead singer of my favorite band, Flogging Molly. (the name has nothing to do with hitting anybody)

  • 30 Ranika on Mar 19, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Dead. High King Mael Sechnaill. Gets overshadowed by Brian Boru, who is a national hero, but Mael Sechnaill was kicking Viking ass (as well as bitch-slapping other Irish kings into submission) when Brian was still fighting to be king of Munster. Plus, he was high king twice. Brian, once.

    Alive. My pop, cause he’s a damn superhero.

  • 31 Slade Rockfist on Mar 19, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Oh come now, Corbett-san…..with a name like Murphy, he can be born anywhere and still be unabashedly and unapologetically full-on Irish.

  • 32 Redclaire on Mar 21, 2008 at 6:50 am

    I think he’s been trying to make up for it all his life by being extra-Irish…