Whatever your background may be - it's hard not to feel Irish on St. Patrick's Day & join the revelry of 80 million people around the world who celebrate Emerald Isle ancestry. Here at SheSpeaks we've got our shillelaghs in hand and are ready to rock all things green!
But just before we start the party and try to catch a Leprechaun with his Pot O'Gold, we pause for a tip o' the hat as we honor the contributions of Ireland's Sons & Daughters to our culture and lifestyle.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are, in part, of Irish descent, as are Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and 18 more of our 44 Presidents!
Topping the list of those who have significantly changed America are industrialist Henry Ford, founder of The Ford Motor Company, Walt Disney, and President John F. Kennedy, who shaped our dreams as a nation, and as a people.
Successful business magnates stretch from publishing's William Randolph Hearst to General Electric CEO Jack Welch. Irish-American inventors created the first US Navy submarine (John Phillips Holland), the mechanical grain reaper (Cyrus McCormick) and even rubber soles for shoes - thank you Humphrey O'Sullivan, thank you so much!
Prominent Irish-American literary figures include Nobel Prize winner Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey Into Night), Pulitzer Prize Winner Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) and Atlanta resident Margaret Mitchell (Gone With The Wind).
It is often said that the Irish received the gift of gab from the Blarney Stone - TV talkers Phil Donohue and Erin Burnett come to mind, as well as speechwriter Peggy Noonan, and that they are people beloved for their humor and wit - Johnny Carson, Jimmy Fallon, George Carlin and Conan O’Brien are but a few examples. From Supreme Court Justices - 9 of them, including Sandra Day O'Connor, to sports legends - quarterback Tom Brady, John McEnroe, and at times it seems the entire student body of Notre Dame. Even our fine astronauts pay tribute here as astronaut Cady Coleman serenades St. Patrick's Day from the International Space Station circling the earth.
Yes, to be sure, Irish-Americans have shaped every facet of American life and stirred a nation with their talent and charm.
Here are 3 Irish-American women of influence we'd especially like to mention:
Prolific mystery writer and "Queen of Suspense" Mary Higgins Clark, whose 42 best-selling books have sold more than 80 million copies stateside - is even the #1 fiction author in France! She is a minority owner of the New Jersey Nets. After several years as a secretary, copy editor, radio script writer and even a stewardess for Pan Am, this widowed mother of five found success in her love of mysteries. Her debut suspense novel, Where Are The Children? is now in its seventy-fifth printing.
Wisconsin born race car driver Danica Patrick is the first woman to ever 'have the lead" in the Indy 500, and is also the first woman to have won the pole position (fastest qualifier since 1990) at the Daytona 500. She is almost as popular off the track as on, having appeared in Sports Illustrated, Elle and ESPN, and is also known for her quirky Super Bowl ads for GoDaddy.com and for famously saying "We have a lot more history to make" after winning the pole position for the Daytona 500.
Dubbed "the Oprah of HSN" veteran Colleen Lopez has been taking America shopping for 20 years. In 2000 she won the Electronic Retail Association's "Best Television Presenter" award and has hosted over 13,000 hours of live shows. She is seen in 96 million homes and has worked with Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Tony Bennett, Emeril Lagasse, Diane Gilman, Adrienne Arpel, Wolfgang Puck.. . and if you can't imagine how an unknown fragrance could sell millions via tv? then you haven't seen Colleen in action!
What are your favorite St. Patrick's Day traditions and sayings? Who are your favorite Irish-American entertainers? How have you been influenced by someone who is Irish-American?