…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…
…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:
…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…)