Irish peopleThis article or section includes a list of referencesor external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations.
You can improvethis article by introducing more precise citations.
Arthur Guinness • Henry Grattan • Saint Brigid • Daniel O'Connell • Lady Morgan • Charles Stewart Parnell • Augusta, Lady Gregory • Oscar Wilde • Constance Markiewicz • William Butler Yeats • Éamon de Valera • Maureen O'Hara • George Best • Mary Robinson • Bob Geldof • Bono • Enya • Colin FarrellTotal population
80,000,000 (est.)Regions with significant populations Ireland5,182,875 United States45,487,790 Great Britain6,870,000 +  Canada4,354,155  Australia6,803,740  Argentina500,000  New Zealand400,000 Mexico300,000 France35,000  Germany35,000 
The Irish people (Irish: Muintir na hÉireann, na hÉireannaigh, na Gaeil) are a Western European ethnic group who originate in Ireland, in north western Europe. People of Irish ethnicity outside of Ireland are common in many western countries, particularly in English-speaking countries. The largest number of people of Irish descent live in the United States -- about ten times more than in Ireland itself.
- 1 Descent
- 2 Surnames
- 3 Personal names (forenames)
- 4 Recent history
- 5 Irish diaspora
- 6 Notable Irish people
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
- Further information: Genetic history of the British Isles and Settlement of Great Britain and Ireland
During the past 9,000 years of inhabitation, Ireland has witnessed many different peoples arrive on its shores. Legendary early arrivals included the Nemedians, the Fomorians, the Fir Bolgs, and the Tuatha Dé Danann, though with the exception of the Fir Bolgs, they are now treated as mythical rather than actual human incursions.
The ancient peoples of Ireland—such as the creators of the Ceide Fields and Newgrange—are almost unknown. Neither their languages nor terms they used to describe themselves have survived. As late as the middle centuries of the 1st millennium AD the inhabitants of Ireland did not appear to have a collective name for themselves. Ireland itself was known by a number of different names, including Banba, Scotia, Fódla, Ériu by the islanders, Hibernia and Scotia to the Romans, and Ierne to the Greeks.
Likewise, the terms for people from Ireland—all from Roman sources—in the late Roman era were varied. They included Attacotti, Scoti, and Gael. This last word, derived from the Welsh gwyddel (meaning raiders), was eventually adopted by the Irish for themselves. However, as a term it is on a par with Viking, as it describes an activity (raiding, piracy) and its proponents, not their actual ethnic affiliations.
The term Irish and Ireland is derived from the Érainn, a people who once lived in what is now central and south Munster. Possibly their proximity to overseas trade with western Britain, Gaul and Hispania led to the name of this one people to be applied to the whole island and its inhabitants.
One legend states that the Irish were descended from Míl Espáine (coined Milesius, from Latin "Miles Hispaniae", meaning "Soldier of Hispania"). The character is almost certainly a mere personification of a supposed migration by a group or groups from Hispania to Ireland. This legend is the source of the term "Milesian" in reference to the Irish. If this invasion was as large as the mythology would suggest, it would account for the genetic similarity of the Northern Iberian populations and the Irish.
It is thought that the Basque Country and neighbouring regions served as a refuge for palaeolithic humans during the last major glaciation when environments further north were too cold and dry for continuous habitation. When the climate warmed into the present interglacial, populations would have rapidly spread north along the west European coast. Genetically, in terms of Y-chromosomes and Mt-DNA, inhabitants of Britain and Ireland are closely related to the Basques, reflecting their common origin in this refugial area. Basques, along with Irish, show the highest frequency of the Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup R1b in Western Europe; some 95% of native Basque men have this haplogroup. The rest is mainly I and a minimal presence of E3b. The Y-chromosome and MtDNA relationship between Basques and people of Ireland and Wales is of equal ratios than to neighbouring areas of Spain, where similar ethnically "Spanish" people now live in close proximity to the Basques, although this genetic relationship is also very strong among Basques and other Spaniards. In fact, as Stephen Oppenheimer has stated in The Origins of the British (2006), although Basques have been more isolated than other Iberians, they are a population representative of south western Europe. As to the genetic relationship among Basques, Iberians and Britons, he also states (pages 375 and 378):
By far the majority of male gene types in the British Isles derive from Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal), ranging from a low of 59% in Fakenham, Norfolk to highs of 96% in Llangefni, north Wales and 93% Castlerea, Ireland. On average only 30% of gene types in England derive from north-west Europe. Even without dating the earlier waves of north-west European immigration, this invalidates the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory... ...75-95% of British and Irish (genetic) matches derive from Iberia...Ireland, coastal Wales, and central and west-coast Scotland are almost entirely made up from Iberian founders, while the rest of the non-English parts of the Britain and Ireland have similarly high rates. England has rather lower rates of Iberian types with marked heterogeneity, but no English sample has less than 58% of Iberian samples...
Brian Sykes, in the book based on his genetic research, Blood of the Isles (2006) comes to similar conclusions. Some quotations from the book follow (note that Sykes uses the terms "Celts" and "Picts" to designate the pre-Roman inhabitants of the Isles who spoke Celtic languages and is not referring to the people known as Celts in central Europe).“
[T]he presence of large numbers of Jasmine’s Oceanic clan ... says to me that there was a very large-scale movement along the Atlantic seaboard north from Iberia, beginning as far back as the early Neolithic and perhaps even before that. ,,,The mere presence of Oceanic Jasmines indicates that this was most definitely a family based settlement rather thatn the sort of male-led invasions of later millennia.”
The 'Celts' of Ireland and the Western Isles are not, as far as I can see from the genetic evidence, related to the Celts who spread south and east to Italy, Greece and Turkey from the heartlands of Hallstadt and La Tene...during the first millennium BC...The genetic evidence shows that a large proportion of Irish Celts, on both the male and female side, did arrive from Iberia at or about the same time as farming reached the Isles. (...)
The connection to Spain is also there in the myth of Brutus.... This too may be the faint echo of the same origin myth as the Milesian Irish and the connection to Iberia is almost as strong in the British regions as it is in Ireland. (...)
Here again, the strongest signal is a Celtic one, in the form of the clan of Oisin, which dominates the scene all over the Isles. The predominance in every part of the Isles of the Atlantischromosome (the most frequent in the Oisin clan), with its strong affinities to Iberia, along with other matches and the evidence from the maternal side convinces me that it is from this direction that we must look for the origin of Oisin and the great majority of our Y-chromosomes...I can find no evidence at all of a large-scale arrival from the heartland of the Celts of central Europe amongst the paternic genetic ancestry of the Isles... can”
The Vikings founded many of the most important towns in Ireland, including Dublin and Cork (earlier native settlements on these sites did not approach the urban nature of the subsequent Norse trading ports), and a hybrid Irish-Norse trading jargon developed called 'Gic-goc.' The arrival of the Normans brought Welsh, Flemish, Normans, Anglo-Saxons and Bretons, most of whom became assimilated into Irish culture and polity by the 15th century, particularly the Welsh-Normans who settled into the Pale area due to the close proximity of Ireland to Wales. The late medieval era saw Scottish gallowglass families of mixed Gaelic-Norse-Pict descent settle, mainly in the north; due to similarities of language and culture they too were assimilated. The Plantations of Ireland and in particular the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century introduced great numbers of Scottish, English as well as French Huguenots as colonists. Despite these divergent backgrounds most of their descendants consider themselves Irish—even where they are aware of such ancestry—mainly due to their lengthy presence in Ireland.
Historically, religion, politics and ethnicity became intertwined in Ireland. Four polls taken between 1989 and 1994 revealed that when asked to state their national identity, over 79% of Northern Ireland Protestants replied "British" or "Ulster" with 3% or less replying "Irish", while over 60% of Northern Ireland Catholics replied "Irish" with 13% or less replying "British" or "Ulster". A survey in 1999 showed that 72% of Northern Ireland Protestants considered themselves "British" and 2% "Irish", with 68% of Northern Ireland Catholics considering themselves "Irish" and 9% "British". The survey also revealed that 78% of Protestants and 48% of all respondents felt "Strongly British", while 77% of Catholics and 35% of all respondents felt "Strongly Irish". 51% of Protestants and 33% of all respondents felt "Not at all Irish", while 62% of Catholics and 28% of all respondents felt "Not at all British".
- See also: Irish names
It is common for Irish Gaelic surnames to be anglicised when used in English, and retain their Gaeilic version for use in Gaelic, just as many surnames of non-Gaelic origin have adapted their own Gaelic versions for use in Gaelic. This dual language system for surnames dates to when the language spoken in Ireland changed from the Irish language to the English language due to the plantations in the 1600s.
It is very common for people of Gaelic origin to have the English versions of their surnames beginning with "O'" or Mc (less frequently "Mac" and occasionally shortened to just "Ma" at the beginning of the name).
"O'" comes from the Gaelic Ó which in turn came from Ua (originally hUa), which means "grandson", or "descendant" of a named person. For "Mac" or "Mc" means "son of"; many names also begin with this. There is no basis in fact for the claim that Mac is Scottish and Mc is Irish: Mc is simply an abbreviation of Mac. However, while both Mac and O' prefixes are Gaelic in origin, Mc is more common in Ulster and Ó is far less common in Scotland than it is in Ireland. Some common surnames that begin with Ó are: Ó Ceallaigh (Kelly), Ó Gormáin (O'Gorman), Ó Gallchobhair (O'Gallagher), Ó hAinbhthin (Hannafin, Hanifan, Hanifen etc.), Ó Raghallaigh (O'Reilly), Ó Laoidheach (Lee), Ó Néill (O'Neill), Ó Briain (O'Brien),O Fallamhain (O'Fallon) Ó Conchúir (O'Connor), Ó Cathasaigh (O'Casey), Ó hÍcidhe, Ó Laoire (O'Leary), Ó Seachnasaigh (O'Shaughnessy),Ó Greaney (O'Greaney),Ó Gradaigh (O' Grady), Ó Caoimh (O'Keeffe) Ó Dónaill (O'Donnell), Ó Dubhda (O'Dowd or O'Duffy), Ó Tuathail (O'Toole), Ó Madadhain / Ó Madain (Madden, Madain, Madigan), Ó Meadhra(O'Meara), Ó Maille (O'Malley), Ó hEadhra (O'Hara), Ó Bradaigh (O'Brady), and Ó Seanacháin (O'Shanahan). Some names that begin with Mac are: Mac Diarmada (MacDermott), Mac Cárthaigh (MacCarthy), Mac Donnachadha (MacDonough), Mac Dómhnaill (MacDonnell), McElligott, Mac Coileáin (MacQuillan), Mac Samhrain (McGovern), Mac Aonghusa (MacGuinness, Magennis), Mac Lochlainn (MacLaughlin), Mac Uidhir (MacGuire), Mac Mathúna (MacMahon, MacMahony) Mac Gadhra (McGeary) and Mac Cormaic (MacCormack). However, the two are not exclusive, so, for example, MacCarthy and McCarthy are both used.
There are a number of Irish surnames derived from Norse personal names, including Sweeney from Swein and Mc Auliffe from Olaf. The name Cotter, local to Cork, derives from the Norse personal name Ottir. Though these names were of Viking derivation most of the families who bear them appear to have had native origins.
"Fitz" is a corruption of the French phrase fils de, used by the Normans, meaning son of. The Normans were ultimately descendents of Vikings who settled in Normandy and had thoroughly adopted French ways and language.
A few names that begin with Fitz are: FitzGerald (Mac Gearailt), FitzSimons (Mac Síomóin), FitzGibbons (Mac Giobúin), Fitzpatrick (Mac Giolla Phádraig) and FitzHenry (Mac Anraí), most of whom descend from the initial Norman settlers. Exceptions occur in a small number of Irish families of Gaelic origin who came to use a Norman form of their original surname - witness Mac Giolla Phádraig becoming FitzPatrick - while some assimilated so well that the Gaelic name was dropped in favor of a new, Hiberno-Norm[an form. Cases in this category include Mac Gilla Mo-Cholomoc of Dublin becoming FitzDermot (after Dermot or Diarmaid Mac Gilla Mo-Cholomoc).Although Fitzpatrick is the only surname beginning with "Fitz" that is of Native Gaelic origin.
Other Norman families derived their name from places or people in Ireland. This was the case of the family of Athy (see Tribes of Galway) who took their surname, de Athy, from the town of that name in Leinster. More common, however, was that the Normans became 'Hiberniores Hibernis ipsis' and in this process the Fitzmaurices became Mac Muiris, the Fitzsimons became Mac Síomóin and Mac an Ridire, Fitzgerald became Mac Gearailt, Bermingham became Mac Fheorais, Nangle became Mac Coisdealbha, Staunton became Mac an Mhíleadha, and so forth.
In the late 12th century and 13th century Norman, Welsh, English, Flemish and Breton peoples arrived in Ireland at the request of Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, and took over parts of the island. During the next three hundred years, they intermarried with ruling Irish clans, adopted Irish culture and the Irish language and as the English put it "became more Irish than the Irish themselves". The more modern name for Mac Murchada is Morell and often associated with Norman-Hiberno or Norman-Irish. Diarmait Mac Murchada was considered a cursed name after bringing the Normans into Ireland and it is believed many of his male offspring changed their surname to Morell and Murrell with many migrating to Ulster by the 18th century. As previously mentioned they spoke the Gaelic as good as any Irishman. Many of the surviving Morell clan from Northern Ireland immigrated to North America and Australia after the Potato Famine.
Another common Irish surname of Norman Irish origin is the 'de' habitational prefix, meaning 'of the' and originally signifying prestige and land ownership. Many Irish surnames share this: de Búrca (Burke), de Brún, de Barra, de Stac, de Tiúit, de Faoite(White), de Paor (Power), and so forth.
It should be emphasised, especially with Gaelic surnames, there may be two or more unrelated families bearing the same or similar surnames. For example, there were at least nine separate Ó Ceallaigh septs, all unrelated. The Mac Lochlainn, Ó Mael Sechlainn, Ó Mael Sechnaill, Ó Conchobair Mac Loughlin and Mac Diarmata Mac Loughlin families, all distinct, are now all subsumed together as MacLoughlin. The full surname usually indicated which family was in question, something that has being diminished with the loss of prefixes such as Ó and Mac. In addition, in Classical Irish when a Mac surname was followed by a name which began with a vowel, the Mac became Mag. This explains why one will still see the older spelling of Mac Aonghusa (McGuinness) as Mag Aonghusa, Mac Uidhir (Maguire) as Mag Uidhir, and so forth.
Furthermore, different branches of a family with the same surname sometimes used distinguishing epithets, which sometimes became surnames in their own right. Hence the chief of the clan Ó Cearnaigh (Kearney) was referred to as An Sionnach (Fox), which his descendants use to this day.
Similar surnames are often found in Scotland for many reasons, such as the use of a common language and mass Irish immigration to Scotland in the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. Also Scottish surnames are noticeable in some Catholics in Ireland, particularly in Ulster, due to intermarriage and pre-Reformation immigration.
Personal names (forenames)
Some personal names in modern Ireland are derived from traditional Irish Names, and anglicised Irish names, although standard English names remain popular.
The recent years have seen a major decline in most Irish names for babies being born in the Republic of Ireland. While in the past names such as Patrick (a name of Roman origin), Séamus (the Gaelic form of James) and others were almost ubiquitous in any family, today they are among the rarer names for children and the same goes for most other Irish names, although there are a few notable exceptions. Conor remains very popular, having topped the Most Popular new names for babies list many years running. The name Jack, which is a diminutive of John, James and Jacob, has grown in popularity. Seán, Gaelic for John, remains one of the most popular Irish names. Male names from North America have become more popular in recent times. There are many other Anglicised Irish names which remain popular, such as Ryan, Neil and others remaining on the Names List.
Aside from Seán other male names from the Norman-Irish tradition include Gearóid (Gerard), Piaras (Pearce), Éamonn (Edward), Liam (William) and indeed the very use of the name Pádraig (Patrick) is a Norman tradition. Prior to the Normans the Gaeil, out of reverence to Saint Patrick, named their children Giolla Phádraig, the servant of Patrick. Piaras is an interesting example of how both Norman and English traditions collided. Piaras is from the Norman-French Piers which itself is derived from the Latin, Petrus. Piaras/Piers was a common name in late medieval and early modern Ireland. However, with the expansion of British rule the English name Peter, which shares the same Latin root, began to replace it. Today, the Irish version (Peadar) of the English name (Peter), tends to be more common than the Irish version (Piaras) of the older Norman name (Piers). Thus, families with Norman surnames where Piaras has been a traditional name have broken the link to their historic tradition. An exception to this would be in the Gaeltachtaí where, for example, Piaras would still be very common, especially in the Corca Dhuibhne area of County Kerry due to the legacy of Piaras Feiritéar, where Piaras remains a very common name in the Feiritéar family. The maintenance of such traditions in personal names outside the Gaeltachtaí would generally be a sign of more educated parents. In an analogous way to Piaras, Irish families of patrilineal Gaelic descent sometimes use the Irish version (Séarlas) of the English name, Charles, rather than the names with a much longer vintage in their families, such as Calbhach and Cathal. Where Cathal is used it is often wrongly termed "the Irish for Charles" in a similar way to which the ancient Irish personal name, Áine, is wrongly said to be an Irish version of the English word, Anne. Rather, both Cathal and Áine are two very ancient Irish names with no etymological link whatsoever to the above English names.
For females, the traditional Irish names are far more popular, although their spellings are not always uniform. Names such as Mary, Ann, and Eileen which were hugely common in the past have now declined, although there was always much more variety in female names than in male. Today Aoife, Aisling, Ciara, Sinéad, and Órla are more popular as traditional Irish names, while foreign names such as Ella, Emma, Lisa, Rachel and Isabelle have become more common. Some older names have maintained their popularity, such as Sarah, Kate, Catherine and Louise.
Female names from the Norman-Irish tradition are widespread and among the most traditional of Irish personal names. In a similar way to the name Pádraig (Patrick), in the pre-Norman tradition Máire did not exist but rather Maol Muire, devotee of the virgin Mary, was the normal Irish usage. Other common Irish female names of Norman origin (with their anglicised form) are Caitríona (Catherine, Katrina), Síle (Sheila), Caitlín (Kathleen), Cáit (Kate), Sinéad (Jane, Janet etc) and Siobhán (Joan, Jane etc).
There can be major differentiations between regions. A personal name can still often indicate where a person, more precisely a man, is from. This is accounted for chiefly in the sainthood cults which have been traditional throughout the island. For instance, Fionnbharr is more common in Cork, Finnian in Meath and Donegal, Fionán in Kerry, and so forth, where these particular saints are institutionalised in local tradition. Seaghan remains the Ulster Irish spelling of Seán, though Séan, with the accent over the E, is also common. Páidí is more common in the Kerry Gaeltacht than elsewhere, and so forth. Jarlath is the patron saint of Tuam and the name is thus quite common in that region. As in the Feiritéar family above, the first name can also often indicate a family tradition as well as place.
See Irish names
Recent historyStatue of Irish Musician Phil Lynott, Dublin
In the Republic of Ireland about 86.82%  of the population are Catholic. In Northern Ireland about 53.1% of the population are Protestant (21.1% Presbyterian, 15.5% Church of Ireland, 3.6% Methodist, 6.1% Other Christian) whilst a large minority are Catholic at approximately 43.8%, as of 2001.
After Ireland became subdued by England in 1603 the English – under James I of England (reigned 1603 – 1625) who was also James VI of Scotland (1566 – 1625), Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell (term 1653 – 1658), William III of England who was also William II of Scotland (reigned 1689 – 1702) and their successors – began the settling of English in Leinster (the English Pale), and later Protestant English and Scottish colonists into Ireland, where they settled most heavily in the northern province of Ulster.
Many native Irish were displaced during the 17th century Plantations of Ireland from parts of Ulster, and were replaced by English and Scottish planters. Only in the major part of Ulster did the plantations prove long-lived; the other three provinces (Connacht, Leinster, and Munster) remained heavily Catholic, and eventually, the Protestant populations of those three provinces would decrease drastically as a result of the political developments in the early 20th century in Ireland and also the Catholic church's Ne Temere decree for mixed marriages which obliged the non-Catholic partner to give an undertaking to have the children raised as Catholics.
It is predominately religion, history and political differences (Irish nationalism versus British unionism) that divide the two communities, as many of the Scots-Irish settlers are in part of Celtic origin themselves and therefore related to their Irish Catholic neighbours.
Conversely, some Irish people would have at least some degree of English or Scottish (gallowglass families from the Highlands) ancestry.
"Ulster-Irish" surnames tend to differ based on which community families originate from. Ulster Protestants tend to have either English or Scottish surnames while Catholics tend to have Irish surnames, although this is not always the case. There are many Catholics in Northern Ireland with surnames such as Emerson, Whitson, Livingstone, Hardy, Tennyson, MacDonald (however this surname is also common with Highland Roman Catholics in Scotland), Dunbar, Groves, Legge, Scott, Gray, Page, Stewart, Rowntree, Henderson, et al; almost certainly due to intermarriage. According to Lecky, conversions also occurred to a lesser extent, which were mostly class-based; Catholics sometimes become Protestant to keep their lands and titles or to gain advantages, while some Protestants who were from the lower classes or who had fallen on hard times would become Catholic.
- Main article: Irish diaspora
The Irish diaspora consists of Irish emigrants and their descendants in countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,Latin America, South Africa and nations of the Caribbean such as Barbados. These countries, known sometimes as the Anglosphere, all have large minorities of Irish descent, who in addition form the core of the Catholic Church in those countries. The diaspora contains over 80 million people; it is believed that roughly one third of the Presidents of the United States of America had at least some Irish descent, while Charles Carroll of Carrollton (whose Irish born grandfather Daniel had left Britain to escape Catholic persecution) was the sole Catholic signatory of the American Declaration of Independence. 
Irish in the Americas number around 60 million. They are the second largest self-reported ethnic group in the United States, after German Americans. It's also one of the largest self-reported ethnic groups in Canada, Irish Canadians number around 4 million. In the mid-19th century large numbers of Irish immigrants to the U.S. were conscripted into the army at the time of the Mexican-American War. Many defected to the Mexican army and eventually settled in Mexico in order to escape the strong anti-Catholic discrimination in the U.S. Vicente Fox, former president of the Republic of Mexico, is of Irish descent. Although some Irish retained their surnames intact, others were assimilated into the Spanish vernacular. The last name O'Brien,for example, became Obregón. Also, large numbers of Irish people emigrated to Argentina in the 18th and 19th centuries. Irish-Argentines number over 500,000. Some famous Argentines of Irish descendent include Che Guevara, ex-president Edelmiro Farrell and national hero William Brown. There are Irish descent people all over south america, and personalities as the peruvian photograph Mario Testino, or the chilean libertador Bernardo O'Higgins are some of them.
One important Irish group in the history of the Americas are the "Patricios", or Saint Patrick's Battalion, a group of European Catholic immigrants, mostly Irish, who left the American side during the Mexican-American War and joined the Mexican Army. Although many of them were caught and executed by the American government, some escaped and remained in Mexico. The battalion is commemorated in Mexico on Saint Patricks's day and on September 12, the anniversary of the first executions.
Notable Irish people
- Main article: List of Irish people
- Aidan of Lindisfarne, Bishop of Lindisfarne, died 651
- Brigid of Kildare - Saint, died c.525
- Cerball mac Dúnlainge, King of Osraige 842-888
- Dicuil - Geographer, fl. 8th/9th century
- Enya - country's second most successful musical act, born 1961
- Feidlimid mac Cremthanin, King of Munster, 820-846
- Flann Sinna, King of Mide and High King; c.847-916
- Johannes Scotus Eriugena, philosopher, died 877
- Máel Sechnaill mac Maíl Ruanaid, Irish High King, died 862
- Marianus Scotus, chronicler, died c.1083
- Niall of the Nine Hostages - Irish king and pirate, died c.450/455
- Bertie Ahern - Irish Taoiseach 1997-2008
- Francis Bacon (painter) - Artist, 1909-1992
- Francis Beaufort, hydrographer, 1774-1857
- Robert Boyle - Chemist, 1627-1691
- George Berkeley - Philosopher,1685-1753
- Pierce Brosnan - actor, played James Bond 1994-2005
- James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde - statesman and soldier, died 1688
- Gay Byrne - presenter of the Late Late Show (1962-1999)
- Todd Carty Actor/Director, Born 1963 Limerick City.
- Patrick Clancy - Member of the Clancy Brothers
- Bob Carlos Clarke - erotic photographer, 1950-2006
- Darren Clarke - professional golfer
- Tom Crean - Antarctic explorer, 1877-1938
- Ninette de Valois - ballerina and founder of the Royal Ballet, died 2001
- Colin Farrell - actor, born 1976
- Paddy Finucane - Battle of Britain flying ace, 1920-1942
- George FitzGerald - physicist
- Rory Gallagher - rock and blues musician
- Bob Geldof - singer, activist and entrepreneur, born 1954
- Brendan Gleeson - actor
- Augusta, Lady Gregory - playwright, co-founder of Abbey Theatre, died 1932
- Veronica Guerin - journalist, murdered 1996
- Arthur Guinness - brewer and founder of the Guinness dynasty
- William Rowan Hamilton - mathematician and scientist
- Glen Hansard - Academy Award-winningsongwriter and rock musician
- Richard Harris Actor, Born 1930 Limerick City.
- Margaret Hassan - humanitarian, kidnapped and murdered in Iraq
- James Hoban - designer of the White House
- John Hume - Politician, Nobel Laureate, born 1937
- Neil Jordan - film director
- James Joyce - novelist
- Roy Keane - footballer
- Caitlín R. Kiernan, fantasy/science fiction writer, born 1964
- Laurena Lacey - Irish Playmate, born 1986
- Francis Ledwidge - poet and political activist, killed in action 1917
- Dónal Lunny - folk musician, born 1945
- Phil Lynott - singer-songwriter and rock star, died 1986
- Mary McAleese - President of Ireland since 1997
- Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh - historian and genealogist, murdered 1671
- Dermot MacMurrough - King of Leinster, died 1171
- Eamonn McCann, political activist, born 1943
- Barry McGuigan, featherweight boxing world champion, born 1961
- Finian Maynard - Windsurfing champion
- Jonathan Rhys Meyers - actor, born 1977
- Spike Milligan - comedian, actor and writer
- Van Morrison - singer-songwriter, musician born 1945
- Cillian Murphy - actor, born 1976
- Liam Neeson - actor, born 1952
- David Norris, Senator and Civil Rights Activist, born 1944
- Graham Norton - TV personality and actor
- Turlough O'Carolan - Irish harpist and composer, 1670-1738
- Daniel O'Connell - barrister and Irish emancipator
- Francis Martin O'Donnell - senior UN diplomat
- Seán Óg Ó hAilpín - captain of the Cork hurling team
- Grace O'Malley - Irish chieftain and pirate, c.1530-c.1603
- Martin O'Neill - Footballer and Manager
- John O'Riley - founder of Saint Patrick's Battalion, 1805-1850
- John O'Shea - humanitarian and founder of GOAL
- Gilbert O'Sullivan - Pop Singer/Songwriter, born 1946
- Sonia O'Sullivan - Olympic athlethe, born 1969
- Peter O'Toole - Eight-time Academy Award for Best Actor nominee
- Samantha Power, born 1970, journalist, writer, and academic
- Mary Robinson- seventh Irish president, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Adi Roche - humanitarian
- Ernest Shackleton - Antarctic explorer, died 1922
- Steve Staunton - Football Manager
- Bram Stoker - theatre manager and author of Dracula, died 1912
- Lorcan Ua Tuathail - Archbishop of Dublin, died 1180
- Oscar Wilde - Playwright, poet, wit, died 1900
- WB Yeats - Poet, died 1939
- Mary Ward (scientist), world's first motor vehicle accident victim.
- Arthur Wellesley - The first Duke of Wellington: politician, solider, British Prime Minister, died 1852
- Dave King, guitar and vocals for the band, Flogging Molly
- Shane MacGowan, legendary songwriter, and singer for notable bands like The Pogues, Shane MacGowan and the Popes, and The Nipple Erectors
- Black Irish
- Early history of Ireland
- Genetic history of Europe
- History of Ireland
- History of the Irish in Indianapolis
- History of the Irish in Louisville
- Irish Americans
- Irish Argentine
- Irish Australian
- Irish Canadian
- Irish Newfoundlanders
- Irish Quebecers
- Irish community in Britain
- Irish diaspora
- The Ireland Funds
- Irish Mexicans
- Kingdom of Ireland
- List of Ireland-related topics
- List of Irish-Americans
- List of Irish people
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
- Scots-Irish American
- ^ The Republic of Ireland 2006 census reports 3,609,556 people who were born on the island of Ireland. The 2001 UK census, in Northern Ireland, reports 1,573,319 people born on the island of Ireland. The combined total is 5,182,875. However, the total population of Ireland is much higher (approx. 6 million), due to the recent large influx of immigration from non-Catholic countries (exc. Poland).
- ^ The  American Community Survey 2004 by the United States Census Bureau estimates 34,487,790 persons claiming Irish ancestry and 5,323,888 people claiming Scots-Irish ancestry. These figures are likely to be an underestimate of the true number with Irish and Scots-Irish ancestry as some people will not have been aware of their Irish and Scots-Irish ancestry, or will have chosen not to mention it. Both figures represent an increase from the previous census in 2000. The figure for Irish ancestry increased by approximately 4 million from the 2000 census, but decreased by approximately 4 million from the 1990 census. It should be mentioned that Irish was provided as one of the example responses on the 1990 census form, but not the 2000 census form. This could be a partial explanation for the decrease in the number of those citing Irish ancestry in the censuses.
- ^ The UK 2001 census shows 869,093 people living in Britain who were born in the Republic of Ireland . The census also reports 691,232 people living in Britain who identified themselves as belonging to the Irish ethnic group. 
- ^  gives 491,030 respondents stating their ethnic origin as Irish as a single response, and 3,863,125 including multiple responses, giving a combined total of 4,354,155. The introduction of a "Canadian" ethnic origin category and the large numbers of responses to this category will again alter the data.
- ^ The 2006 Australian Census reports 1.9 million people of Irish ancestry in the 2001 Census. Up to two ancestries could be chosen. Recent increases in the number who identify as Australian suggest that this number is an underestimate of the true number with Irish ancestry. With that being said, the number claiming Irish ancestry from the previous census actually more than doubled. One reason, an improved image of what it means to be Irish according to the census experts, making Australians more proud to state their Irish ancestry. Also the Australian Embassy in Dublin states that 30 percent of Australians have Irish ancestry..
- ^ Flying the Irish flag in Argentina - Western People
- ^ Irish France - Irish Pubs - Le portail franco irlandais - The Gaelic Gallic scene on screen !!
- ^ estimated 35,000-more than 1 million enjoy Irish culture
- ^ The article "More Britons applying for Irish passports" states that 6 million Britons have either an Irish grandfather or grandmother and are thus able to apply for Irish citizenship. .
- ^ a b McDonald, World Haplogroups Maps
- ^ Sykes 2006, p. 280-281
- ^ Sykes 2006, pp. 281-282
- ^ Sykes 2006, p. 283-284
- ^ in, Social Attitudes in Northern Ireland: The Fifth Report
- ^ Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey
- ^ Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey
- ^ Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey
- ^ Donnchadh Ó Corráin & Fidelma Maguire, Irish Personal Names
11. Lehmann, Winfred P., 1997. 'Early Celtic among the Indo-European Dialects'. Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie 49-50. 440-454. 12. 
External linksWikimedia Commons has media related to: People of Ireland
- Irish surname origins
- Y-chromosome variation and Irish origins (PDF File) (Nature, March 2000)
- The Longue Durée of Genetic Ancestry: Multiple Genetic Marker Systems and Celtic Origins on the Atlantic Facade of Europe October 2004
- Irish ancestors on Ireland.com
- Genetic study that links the Irish to Basques 
- Origins of the Irish
constituent countriesIreland · United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK, consisting ofEngland · Northern Ireland · Scotland · Wales) British Crown
dependenciesGuernsey · Jersey · Isle of ManPolitical cooperation British-Irish Council · British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body · Common Travel Area · North/South Ministerial Council
dependencies Ireland · United Kingdom(England · Northern Ireland · Scotland · Wales)
Guernsey · Jersey · Isle of ManFormer states Kingdom of England · Kingdom of Scotland · Kingdom of Ireland · Principality of Wales · Kingdom of Great Britain · United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland · Irish Free State
Link former page on this page
Related word on this page