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

March 17th, 2008 by · 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…)

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