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?
I'm not Irish but I do love the emerald colors and the Irish spirit on St. Patrick's day. Time to bust out my fresh corned beef & cabbage recipe. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of the She Speaks team!
Great blog! Again very informative as your last blog on the Oscars. I glad I can read something of substance which is refreshing. Thank you for giving me some history about Ireland and love the song. After reading this, makes me feel like I should take a trip to the Green Isle.
One of my best friends is from Ireland so I've learned her Irish words for things we say differently here. I've also gotten some great recipes!
My hubby is all Irish, and it seems to me that he wears "green" all year round. He loves a good "Irish" beer once in awhile and it's a must to make corned beef and cabbage on St. Pats! I love to wear my Lucky Charms t-shirt, St. Patty's day charm bracelet, and green shamrock socks!
We found out a couple years ago that my husband is part Irish. Now St. Patrick's Day is all the more fun because of that. Not only do we wear the green on St. Patty's Day, but I try and find some cute decorations and have a fun dessert.
Being Irish, and growing up in an Irish neighborhood, I have such fond memories of learning the Irish Jig, learning how to make "the best" corned beef & cabbage, and soda bread. I remember waking each Saint Paddy's Day, eager to dress up in green, eat our brown bread, and get ready for the Big Parade. I truly am blessed!
My birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, so I always enjoy the decorations and eating the traditional corned beef and cabbage. And, of course I always look forward to my once-a year Shamrock Shake from McDonald's. It's an honor to be wearin' the green on my birthday!