A St. Patrick’s Day Toast to Influential Irish-Americans

St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious feast for the patron saint of Ireland and has since grown into a global celebration of the vibrant country and its people. In the 2010 U.S. Census, 34.7 million residents of the United States claimed Irish ancestry, which is seven times Ireland’s current population. Irish immigrants have contributed much to American politics, business, art, and literature. Today, we celebrate these notable Irish-Americans.

Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States

Vice President Pence, born June 7, 1959, has strong Irish roots. His grandmother came to the U.S. from Doonbeg, County Clare – which also happens to be the home of a Trump golf resort. His Grandfather, Richard Michael Cawley, passed through Ellis Island in 1923, and in 1927 was hired as a motorman for the Chicago Surface Lines, a streetcar service later absorbed by the Chicago Transit Authority. He held that job, eventually driving a bus, for more than 40 years.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and CEO of Square

Jack Dorsey was born on November 19, 1976 in Fairmont City, Illinois. He attended the Catholic High School at Bishop DuBourg High School and then went on to New York University, where dropped out to pursue multiple talents—from fashion design to tech—and ultimately conceived of Twitter. He has recognized his family’s Irish ancestry and often visits the country.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Paul Ryan was born in 1970 in Janesville, Wisconsin, and is the youngest of four children—his father is of Irish descent. Ryan graduated with a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio, and he has committed his life to “advocating for real solutions that will expand opportunity for all Americans.” Serving his ninth term in Congress, Ryan was elected to the position of Speaker of the House in October of 2015.

Peggy Noonan, Columnist, Wall Street Journal

Peggy Noonan was born in 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, and is of Irish descent. Known for her weekly Wall Street Journal column, Noonan is a prolific journalist and author of eight books on American politics, history, and culture. She started her career as a producer for CBS News, and then turned to speechwriting for the Ronald Reagan administration, as well as George H.W. Bush’s presidential bid. In 2010, she was honored by the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor with the Award for Media Excellence.

Jimmy Fallon, Host, The Tonight Show

Fallon, born September 19, 1974, has hosted The Tonight Show since 2014. He began his career on Saturday Night Live in 1998 cohosting the Weekend Update. Fallon’s ancestors, Henry and Mary Stickevers, initially settled in Jersey City in 1841, and later moved to Brooklyn.  Henry was naturalized in 1848, making him Jimmy’s first American ancestor.

About NAE

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