Irish Quotes

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best Irish Quotes from famous persons: Hozier, Dylan Moran, Deirdre O’Kane, Harrison Ford, Jason O’Mara. The wide variety of quotes available makes it possible to find a quote to suit your needs. You’ve likely heard some of the Irish Quotes before, but that’s because they truly are great.

I have a bit of a love affair with fairy tales and some

I have a bit of a love affair with fairy tales and some of the ideas of Irish mythology, like Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats, who captured a lot of that very beautifully.
I’m really not big on nationalism, to be honest with you. I really don’t think it gets people anywhere except near a pile of dead bodies. I’m Irish, yeah, but I don’t need to get up on a soapbox about it.
Growing up, I was your classic Catholic Irish kid. I went to mass every Sunday. Then in secondary school I went to boarding school, and there was mass seven days a week before breakfast – it may have put me off!
I am Irish as a person, but I feel Jewish as an actor.
I became an American citizen three years ago, and if I’d been arrested, maybe that wouldn’t have happened. That was a very proud moment, by the way. I still have my Irish passport, but becoming an American citizen was important in terms of my family.
Father Ted’ was written by Irish people, so that was fine, but around the time we were shooting it ‘EastEnders’ went to Ireland and represented it as this terribly backward society where people were going around with one eye and drunk.
Irish and Italian are my two favourite people.
When I went to America, I spoke so much about who I was and gave so much away in a confessional, Irish, story-telling way that I suddenly realised I had given up a lot of myself. I had to shut up.
I am concerned that there’s a cavalier attitude to the Irish Peace Process. What poor memories some have; I remember only too well the bag searches, the bomb scares and deaths. As they say, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.
From day one working in TV, I have been very conscious of the way the Irish are represented, In every show I’ve been involved in I read the script, take out the Irishisms right away and say, ‘I’ll supply those‘.
My family, they’re story tellers. My mom is Irish, and my dad is Italian. In my family, we weren’t allowed to watch TV while we ate – we had to sit around the table and tell stories about our day.
When I hit the scene, there was Billy Connolly and Max Boyce. It was all mother-in-law and Irish jokes, and we broke the mould. Now there are thousands of comedians out there, and I don’t think I can be above it all.
The way I see it is that all the ol’ guff about being Irish is a kind of nonsense. I mean, I couldn’t be anything else no matter what I tried to be. I couldn’t be Chinese or Japanese.
I live in Dublin, God knows why. There are greatly more congenial places I could have settled in – Italy, France, Manhattan – but I like the climate here, and Irish light seems to be essential for me and for my writing.
I’m Irish and always will be, but America has taught me so much. Maybe it’s here in the U.S. that we find a healing, for in the broader melting pot we get to look at some of these self-destructive attributes that we bring to bear upon our own quarrels and begin to solve them in ways other than just splitting apart.
Fionnula Flanagan
I grew up in an environment in Birmingham that was really multicultural, with black kids, Irish kids, Indian kids.
The title, the name Frank, comes from this extraordinary British character Frank Friedbottom. He was very big in Britain in the ’80s, but I, as an Irish kid, saw him on ‘Top of the Charts.’
I’m Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m Italian on Columbus Day. I’m a New Yorker every day.
I was attracted to black music for the same reason that I loved those old Irish ballads. Both were social statements of sorts, and both were indigenous to their respective cultures: Ireland, where my father had grown up, and towns like St. Louis along the Mississippi River, where I was growing up.
My family calls me Declan. But most people call me E.C. I think it comes from my dad. It’s an Irish convention. You usually call the first child by the initials.
I look Italian, but I act Irish.
I think most of the world would like to be Scottish. All the Americans who come here never look for English blood or Welsh, only for Scottish and Irish. It’s understandable. The Scots effectively created the face of the modern world: the railways, the bridges, the tunnels.
I come from the tradition of a big Irish family that loves to sing. I love to perform.
I don’t want to, in any way, characterize a race or a people or get accused of racial profiling, but the Irish, as lyrical and romantic as they can be in their poetry, they can be every bit as repressed in their personal relations.
With such riches as I have in life, you’re always nervous. Being Irish, you’re waiting for something to knock it sideways.
I’m very aware of my own background. I’m Irish, French, and then a little bit of everything else thrown in, ranging from German to Native American. We’re talking about tiny drops of blood.
It is a most disgraceful shame the way in which Irishmen are brought up. They are ashamed of their language, institutions, and of everything Irish.
Douglas Hyde
I like that kind of weather. Constant drizzle. At the Olympic trials in 2012, my mom was, like, ‘It’s pouring rain out there, Mary. You shouldn’t even notice it. You’re Irish.’
The best thanks we could offer those who went before and raised the Irish working class from their knees was to press forward with determination and enthusiasm towards the ultimate goal of their efforts, a Co-operative Commonwealth for Ireland.
I’ve heard some duff Irish accents. The worst must be Mickey Rourke.
American audiences are great. They get what I am doing, but as my band will tell you, nowhere tops the Irish audience. They are just brilliant. They are very open, but the Americans and Spanish come a close second.
I’m proud of my Irish heritage and culture and this show will feature a lot of Irish dancing.
Michael Flatley
I’m proud to be Irish.
But I will say that living in Ireland has changed the cadence and fullness of speech, since the Irish love words and use as many of them in a sentence as possible.
I still identify as Irish. But I’m a Londoner too. It really is a great place to grow up.
I’m Irish and Cherokee Indian. I can’t faint.
Lynn Collins
I love Ireland. I’ll always be 100pc Irish. I get really excited when I go to Sligo; it’s my home.
I know so many Irish musicians. They’re all over, because there has been so much emigration from Ireland. Like the Jews.
The Irish seem to have more fire about them than the Scots.
As an Irish person, there’s a historical fascination with America: America is the default green and promised land for Irish people and Italians; that’s what we grow up with.
Most boys’ first hero is their father. That was definitely true of my dad. He was a proud Irish American and he taught me a lot about ethics and responsibility. He also introduced me to a lot of wonderful folk music.
I grew up in a big Irish, Catholic family. My dad was a pretty rough guy. So one of my brothers left home when he was 15 and found his way to the gym. It gave me the opportunity to go and spend some time with him and work out in the gym.
My father was sick when I was little, and we had a woman, a nanny-type, who was from Ireland. Her daughter was in Irish dancing, so she put me in it, and in the summertime, every weekend was filled with traveling somewhere to dance in competitions.
I’m a very proud Irish person, and also used to be an expat. We are a great nation, sound in fact!
Being the U.S. champion is a big deal for me. Knowing that my ancestors built this country, it’s kind of like, the Irish were treated badly in this country for a long time, with a lot of tacky Irish stereotypes, so to me, it’s kind of like a bragging right.
I’m Irish. I don’t know how to take a compliment.
I came to think that nobody from England could draw American comic books, because they were clearly all done by this sort of Mafia, all these guys with Italian and Irish names who had the whole thing sewn up. It was actually seeing a comic book drawn by Barry Smith, who was about my age, and English.
Listening to all these different musical genres from all over the world and listening to my father’s record collection, the Irish folk influences from home. Of course they’re all in there somewhere hiding within the lyrics and melodies. But rap music was the biggest influence on my way of writing and my performing.
In Irish law, busking is considered vagrancy – you can be arrested for it. It’s risky asking people for money in public. So it’s not like it’s a high-art job. And people who do it as a high-art job make very little money.
The last dog I had was an Irish wolfhound – now that is a dog. Rather spoils a person for a lesser canine, that is, anything under a hundredweight.
Laurie R. King
My dad had these great Benny Goodman albums that I was obsessed with, and Louis Prima‘s another guy I loved, and Peter Niro the jazz pianist. I loved international music: Irish music, Mexican music. I love the different colours that they all have.
A huge part of Irish dance is balance, which is so good for any kind of combat – just being aware of your body.
I was raised Irish Catholic and went to Holy Names Academy, an all-girl’s private Catholic school. I loved the nuns there and I love them to this day.
I miss Irish milk. Probably not as much as Superquinn sausages.
Tristan MacManus
The whole world has American dreams. This country has people from all parts of the world. We have Irish who live here, we have Brazilians.
When I was 14, I almost had a big green leprechaun tattooed on my forearm. Thank God I didn’t – it would have been a nightmare to cover up as an actor. I went with a group of mates and, being Irish, thought a leprechaun would be perfect.
Poetry is not Irish or any other nationality; and when writers such as Messrs. Clarke, Farren and the late F. R. Higgins pursue Irishness as a poetic end, they are merely exploiting incidental local colour.
I’m a Londoner, and I feel I can’t live anywhere but London, but I feel more connected to Ireland as a country. I ‘get’ Irish people and the humour here, which is more subtle.
As our company grew and we began growing our family stateside – with heritages ranging from Liberian and Sierra Leonean to Irish, Indian, Swedish, Filipino, German, and beyond – our different cultural influences and walks of life helped us even better understand the criticality of an inclusive point of view.
The Irish do not want anyone to wish them well; they want everyone to wish their enemies ill.
Harold Nicolson
I hold that the beginning of modern Irish drama was in the winter of 1898, at a school feast at Coole, when Douglas Hyde and Miss Norma Borthwick acted in Irish in a Punch and Judy show; and the delighted children went back to tell their parents what grand curses ‘An Craoibhin’ had put on the baby and the policeman.
When I was young, I struggled with authorship: with everything the word meant and failed to mean. Irish poetry was heavy with custom. Sometimes at night, when I tried to write, a ghost hand seemed to hold mine. Where could my life, my language fit in?
Cursing is heavily used in the Irish language. It’s not a stretch for me, and I have no qualms about it. It doesn’t fall far from the real me.
Paula Malcomson
As I told Piers Morgan, ‘Catholics have confession, whereas Northern Irish Protestants only have interviews.’
I grew up with this idea that songwriters had a great job. My family was Irish Catholic, so if you became a priest or a songwriter, you were golden.
I have Czech, I have Russian, I have English, I have Italian. Uh, what am I missing? A little bit of Irish. The Russian is Jewish. So I’m your classic American mutt.
Growing up I was a competitive Irish step dancer.
The Irish and Russian communities are huge in New York, so this is truly one of the only places where I can fight in front of all of my fans.
A lot of Irish people perform. They perform in drawing rooms. They sing songs and they play piano.
For years, Ireland used to have a philosophy of ‘Get them in here to invest and develop in Ireland, and this will sort out our problems.’ It is good in the sense of building a trade surplus, but we also want to develop what it is that we offer ourselves and that Irish companies export abroad.
Second-generation Hispanics marry non-Hispanics at a higher rate than second-generation Irish or Italians. Second-generation Hispanics’ English language capability rates are higher than previous immigrant groups‘.
The Irish Government can no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse.
Jack Lynch
I will never forget walking out on a Saturday night with Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, household names who were opinionated and full of confidence, and I was just this Irish guy.
The Georges were fair; they left all to the Government; but Anne was very bad and a tyrant. She tyrannised over the Irish. She died broken-hearted with all the bad things that were going on about her. For Queen Anne was very wicked; oh, very wicked, indeed!
I’m Irish. I think about death all the time.
When I was growing up, for example, everybody on our street was Irish. And all the girls did Irish step dancing. It was pre-Lord of the Dance – it was before anybody knew what gillys were – but we did, and there was such pride among the members of my family and people I grew up with.
The so-called Boer War advertised British vulnerabilities, and these were confirmed by the Irish rising of 1916 and the subsequent creation of the Irish Free State, blows that attracted the notice and attention of colonial dissidents in Asia and Africa.
My uncle was a photographer for ‘The Irish Times.’
I think now, more than anytime I can remember, bands are sounding pretty similar whether they’re English or American, from Manchester or London… or Leeds or Welsh or Irish.
I never thought about becoming a professional singer, but I am in touch with Bono about releasing a musical movie. It will be about an Irish band during the ’70s who are looking for fortune in Las Vegas. I should play the singer of the band but I don’t want to sing in front of anybody.
Being Irish, I always had this love of words.
My father told me fairy stories and he read to us. And my grandmother was Irish. She told us about ‘the little people.’ When I went into the forest I used to look for them.
I’m Irish, so I’m used to odd stews. I can take it. Just throw a lot of carrots and onions in there and I’ll call it dinner.
Law enforcement‘s biased view of the Irish lives on in the nickname we still use for the vehicles we use to transport groups of prisoners. It is, after all, the ‘paddy wagon.’ The Irish had tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans.
Ireland and America, music-wise, are very closely related. The Irish came over with their fiddles in hand, and you can hear it in the bluegrass and rockabilly. I love it when music from different countries combine.
The Irish Catholic side was married to the life of an actor and I found out acting could be a form of prayer.
The Irish people were willing to take me at face value, to give me the benefit of the doubt because I was a Kennedy. I think being a Kennedy was extremely helpful.
At one point in my life, I wanted to do a master‘s degree in Irish literature, but I ended up getting pregnant instead.
Irish music in the local pubs was my first exposure to musical expression, and I feel like Irish music is very close to musical theater because it is always telling a story.
It is sufficient to say, what everybody knows to be true, that the Irish population is Catholic, and that the Protestants, whether of the Episcopalian or Presbyterian Church, or of both united, are a small minority of the Irish people.
John Bright
Dublin is really fun, and Irish people are hilarious.
I have Irish on both sides of my family.
I come from a big Irish family who force-fed me as a kid, so not eating was never an option.
I’m just an old Irish guy who believes if you have children, you need to be there to raise them.
I dropped out of school at 17 and joined the Irish band The Frames, getting my first glimpse into the world of professional film making while shooting of a number of rock videos.
John Carney
I think there is a very strong sense of Irish identity, and I think partly that’s to do with the fact that we have evolved differently from Britain and other countries in Europe.
Gaelic football is a very Irish sport, which I played.
I’m not a walking extra in a Chekhov play; I’m no Slavic gloom or Irish gloom.
We used to speak Irish – Gaelic Irish – around the dinner table, but over the years, we lost that.
The majority of the members of the Irish parliament are professional politicians, in the sense that otherwise they would not be given jobs minding mice at crossroads.
Flann O’Brien
I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.
It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked looking-glass of a servant.
I never waited for my Irish Cream coffee to be the right temperature, with a storm happening outside and my fireplace crackling… I wrote every day, at home, in the office, whether I felt like it or not. I just did it.
Both the U.K. and the E.U. have made a sincere commitment to the people of Northern Ireland: there will be no hard border. Equally, as a U.K. government, we could not countenance a future in which a border was drawn in the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.
You find Jews, Irish, and Italians in every orchestra.
I went into the world confident my tea training would open many doors. And I did particularly well with the Irish and fellow Nova Scotians over 60. But this only got me so far. It took a long time to cultivate the tricks of easy social interaction.
My brother and I were born in an Irish county called Tipperary. We were both very math- and science-inclined in high school. My dad trained as an electrical engineer, and my mom is in microbiology.
I am immensely proud of my Irish roots.
The desert feels Irish in a way – lonely and barren.
I’m just a true Irish boy at heart.
The Irish want to smile, and they want to have fun.
I’m born and raised in the Northeast. My parents are Irish immigrants. So our tendency is to shy away from the big yellow ball that comes up in the sky every once in a while.
The power of the print reviewer is one of those urban myths. There have always been shows that slipped under the critical radar to become popular successes: ‘Tobacco Road’, ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ and our old friendSpider-Man’, which got the worst reviews in theatre history and is still apparently going strong.
Ben Brantley
I think Irish people pride themselves on being at the forefront of technological industries, things like the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, all those hi-tech industries, we’re always there or thereabouts.
Let everyone leave all the guns – British guns and Irish guns – outside the door.
‘The Irish Duke‘ is a sequel to ‘The Decadent Duke’ about Lady Georgina Gordon who married the Duke of Bedford. ‘The Irish Duke’ tells the story of their daughter, Lady Louisa, who married James Hamilton, the powerful and wealthy Duke of Abercorn.
They believed that Britain was in Ireland defending their own interests, therefore the Irish had the right to use violence to put them out. My argument was that that type of thinking was out of date.
‘Lollipop Opera’ is the backdrop to Finsbury Park. A place that is very thriving, interracial and lot of music stores, Greek, Turkish, all sorts of immigrant music. It’s utter Englishness. It blends the Jamaicans, the Irish. It’s like what Jim Reeves did with American country music.
Well, I did go to Irish dancing lessons as a kid, but I was slapped and never went again.
Andrea Corr
Northern Irish people tend to have this sharp, dark sense of humour.
When I go home, I go to my house in the countryside. I don’t hang out in Dublin. I go home to be with my family and have a rest and so on. I don’t know anything about the Irish music scene, and I’ve never felt part of it.
I would love to play a British character one day. My accent wavers between Scottish and Irish very easily, though.
I wasn’t close to my father, but I wanted to be all my life. He had a funny sense of humor, and he laughed all the time – good and loud, like I do. He was a gay Irish gentleman and very good-looking. And he wanted to be close to me, too, but we never had much time together.
I’m crazy about Dublin. If you went back 3,000 years in my ancestry you wouldn’t find a drop of Irish blood in the veins, but I love the place.
The first music I was ever exposed to was Irish folk music, like the Clancy Brothers. My father plays that and Christmas songs.
London’s been really good to me – England as a whole – but the Scots and the Irish especially are very appreciative because that’s kind of where it all came from.
I am very proud to be Irish.
I was freelancing for years in Cork and around. I also wrote freelance pieces for ‘The Irish Times.’
The Irish move to a very low corporation tax has generated very significant revenue growth, considerably in excess of Britain’s, where a slower economy has been combined with a number of stealth taxes.
My dad’s from Zimbabwe, and my mom is Danish, Irish, and Norwegian, so I have influences from a lot of different places.
Songs with simple lyrics really take off in Irish nightclubs.
On my mum Marie‘s side, my nana was from the Republic of Ireland, and my granddad was from the north. Lots of families in Manchester have strong Irish connections, but it never occurred to me to play for anyone other than England.
I feel warm toward my Irish side, but I don’t know the country or the people. Hearing a traditional Irish fiddle, I feel very connected to Ireland, but that’s a nostalgia many people feel who aren’t Irish at all.
Daniel Hope
I’m black and Cuban, Australian and Irish, and like most people in America, I’m someone whose roots come from somewhere else. I’m a mixed race, first-generation American.
Irish mythology is gorgeous, and so are the fairies, but they are very misrepresented in the U.K. They are not little creatures with wings.
Kate Thompson
Irish women are always carrying water on their heads, and always carrying their husbands home from pubs. Such things are the greatest posture-builders in the world.
Irish national teams are usually very physical.
I did a great deal of research to write ‘The Irish Duke.’ Since all the people in this Lords of the Realm series are real historical characters, everything had to be authentic. I researched Woburn Abbey, where my heroine lived, and everything about Barons Court in Ireland, which was the ancestral home of Abercorn.
I’m a product of my Irish culture, and I could no more lose that than I could my sense of identity.
It’s very difficult to break in Europe unless you break in England, and it’s very difficult to break in England if you’re Irish.
Yelling Irish, you can sound like an angry Leprechaun.
Some people say to me, ‘You don’t sound very Irish.’ It’s because I have this tendency to iron out my accent: not because I’m ashamed of it but because it makes my life easier if I don’t keep having to repeat myself.
My mother was from upstate New York; she’s of Irish and German descent. My father was from Ghana.
I listen to music mostly in the evening. I’ve come to love what is called world music, like the Zimbabwean Oliver Mtukudzi and the Colombian singer Marta Gomez. I also love the Irish folk singer Mary Black. Other favorites include Chet Baker, Eva Cassidy, and Billie Holiday.
The Irish are just good people, they always have been.
My mother came from an Irish family of 11 kids and, of course, had a sister who was a nun, so I spent time at a convent and with an aunt and uncle who lived in New York and took me to the theater.
Three-quarters of my family is Irish. Of course, the ‘Kazee’ is not.
Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.
There’s a certain kind of guy, a certain kind of humor, that goes with Irish cops and firemen.
Our fifty principal cities contain 39.3 per cent of our entire German population, and 45.8 per cent of the Irish. Our ten larger cities only nine per cent of the entire population, but 23 per cent of the foreign.
The Danes and the Irish have a great simpatico, that’s for sure.
The strange thing is I can’t play jigs or reels or any of that traditional Irish stuff as well as I ought to, whereas I think I have got a good ear for blues, the tonality of it and so on.
Well, I couldn’t speak English before I went to Belfast. So I learned English with a Northern Irish accent.
It’s not that I don’t like American pop; I’m a huge admirer of it, but I think my roots came from a very English and Irish base. Is it all sort of totally non-American sounding, do you think?
Anyone who starts badmouthing Latino immigrants is not only a racist but ignorant. You need to refer them to what was written about the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, any group you want.
I don’t see myself as either Irish or American, I’m a New Yorker.
My father was totally Irish, and so I went to Ireland once. I found it to be very much like New York, for it was a beautiful country, and both the women and men were good-looking.
James Cagney
They just love the Irish accent in the States. But I just talk really fast because I’m from Cork. It’s my speed that really throws them, especially when I get nervous. Doing interviews there is really hard because you can’t hear a word I’m saying!
I went further and further back through the centuries to get a sense of perspective but now at least I understand why Irish history evokes such strong passions and emotions.
James D’arcy
I am delighted with the strong vote I have received. My message of positive leadership, patriotism and commitment clearly was resonating with tens of thousands of ordinary Irish people.
When Coach Mike Brey at Notre Dame was recruiting me, he was like, ‘There will be Irish on the front of the jersey; and Irish on the back of the jersey.’ But no one actually knows I am a citizen over there.
Being Irish is very much a part of who I am. I take it everywhere with me.
Language is so important to the Irish, almost regardless of education.
I grew up in a big, blended Irish Catholic family just outside of Los Angeles.
I’m representative of 21st century Irish design, so I promote Irishness all over the world wherever I go.
I’m honoured and delighted to be named the ‘Irish Times’/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year 2014. This has been an amazing year for me and for Irish women in sport, and I would like to congratulate all the finalists in their respective fields who have excelled at major sporting events.
I’m one hundred percent Irish, and I’m very proud that I’m Irish American, though I don’t know exactly where my ancestors came from. I just know County Cork.
I’m interested in why people talk like they do. Like Boston Irish. It’s so laid back. Why is that?
I did the same thing as every Irish person who comes to New York. I arrived on a Wednesday, and by Saturday night, I was pulling pints at a pub in the Bronx.
I’m an Irish Catholic and I have a long iceberg of guilt.
Edna O’Brien
My mom was a single mother. She had six siblings in a big Irish family, all descended from shanty Irish folks who arrived after the Famine. They settled along the Cuyahoga River. It’s the river that caught on fire. We’re real good at picking real estate.
I love battles. I think it’s part of the Irish in me.
I was born into an Irish Catholic family in the New York area in this great, wonderful, and safe country, but the Holocaust has always haunted me, and it has long stood as a stumbling block to faith. How could such a thing be? How is that consistent with the concept of a loving God?
If you ask me where do I belong, it would be somewhere in the Irish Sea almost – born in Hong Kong, Chinese mother, Portuguese father from Macao, lived in Europe most of my life.
Many of the Victorian and Edwardian activists who campaigned for Irish home rule, for instance, also wanted what they called ‘home rule all round’: separate parliaments not simply for Ireland but also for the Scots and the Welsh – and for the English.
There’s no such thing as the ‘Irish Internet.’ It’s just the Internet.
But more than anything else, for the British folks Irish people were all terrorists. So when we went to Britain, it was always a lot of resistance to U2. And that’s why we came to America.
Next to President of the United States, Ambassador to Ireland is surely one of the best jobs an Irish American can hold.
I spent my entire Irish Catholic youth in a constant state of guilt over imaginary sins. I learned that nothing is a sin as long as you don’t take pleasure from it.
In this context the British and Irish governments will have to promote a new, imaginative and dynamic alternative in which both governments will share power in the north.
I think there’s nothing better than laughing in life, so that’s nice, to be thought of as someone who can make someone laugh. It’s ’cause I think life is hard. You know, my dad was a really silly man. A great Irish silly man. And that’s fine.
I feel myself part of something. Not only being part of a community but part of an actual moment and a movement of Irish writing and art. That sense of being part of the whole thing is the deepest joy.
I remember as a kid being asked if I was Jewish or Irish. I said, like the glib little 15-year-old I was, ‘You can be both.’ Feeling very pleased with myself. Before they smacked me.
I won the parental lottery. Most of the kids I grew up with either came from really fractured homes, or really violent ones. I went home to a very traditional, good Irish Catholic family.
Dennis Lehane
I made loads of English and Irish friends at university and all they wanted to do was have a good time.
The only way to get to that next peak is to be ready for that next valley. Being raised Irish, you know to always be ready for the bad times.
Trash talk? Smack talk? This is an American term that makes me laugh. I simply speak the truth. I’m an Irish man.
There is no way in which we can retrospectively erase the Treaty of Vienna or the Great Irish Famine. It is a peculiar feature of human actions that, once performed, they can never be recuperated. What is true of the past will always be true of it.
There are writers, and I know some of them, who are very disciplined. Who write, like, four pages a day, every day. And it doesn’t matter if their dog got run over by a car that day, or they won the Irish sweepstakes. I’m not one of those writers.
I would never accuse the Irish people of being in any way stupid.
My parents were both first-generation Irish Catholics raised in Brooklyn.
I have three older brothers. I’m Irish. I’m feisty.
My mother is Italian and my dad’s Irish. In my family, we’re expressive. Nobody holds back.
I was Irish; I was a woman. Yet night after night, bent over the table, I wrote in forms explored and sealed by English men hundreds of years before. I saw no contradiction.
Me and Johnny Rotten have been talking about doing a movie of his book, No Irish, No Dogs, No Blacks. We have a script, so hopefully that’s going to happen at some point in our careers.
‘You’re Ugly Too’ isn’t a comedy, but it has a lightness of touch with a hard edge. But it’s essentially a warm story tinged with a bit of melancholy in the great Irish tradition. I’m very proud of that film.
It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.
My pride at wearing the Irish shirt was always 100 per cent genuine. It was a great honour for myself and my family and something I will always cherish.
Ireland never lacked the capacity to feed its people. During the entire ‘great famine,’ the island continued to produce massive amounts of beef and grain. The Irish just couldn’t afford to buy any of it due to the enforcement of rack-renting, high taxation, and suppression of manufactures.
Rain is also very difficult to film, particularly in Ireland because it’s quite fine, so fine that the Irish don’t even acknowledge that it exists.
Alan Parker
I’ve always loved movies, so I tried to get into an acting school. I saw an ad for the Oscar school on the back of ‘The Irish Times,’ and I went along for an audition, very pragmatically, to see if I could do it or not.
Most of my jokes are racist – usually about the Irish.
Frank Carson
Politics is the chloroform of the Irish people, or rather the hashish.
Oliver St. John
The Butcher Boy is a very great novel indeed and a very important Irish novel. The ambiguity of that is, he’s writing a book about an appalling situation and he does it in a hilarious way.
I grew up mostly with classical, big band, and a lot of Irish music – I really didn’t start listening to rock and roll until I was maybe sixteen.
To me, the real opinion polls are the tangible facts: the growing creation of jobs, the number of planning permissions, the number of commercial vans being sold – the signs that the Irish people are regaining confidence.
Finally, Colin Farrell showed up on my doorstep, only he wasn’t Colin Farrell – he was just this Irish kid who had read the script and wanted to do it.
Robert Towne
I see myself as part English and part American, with a dash of Irish thrown in, and a pinch of Italian from my mother’s ancestry.
Allegra Huston
You have the most amazing Irish actors. Cillian on ‘Peaky Blinders.’ And the most amazing actress.
People ask me where I’m from. I say Ireland, and they are like ‘Really? You don’t look Irish.’ Then you have to explain… people are intrigued, but sometimes you think, ‘Why do I have to tell my whole story every time I open my mouth?
My mom always had a softer spot for boys, as a lot of Irish women do. If you were a girl, you’d have to sing or wear a pretty dress. But boys could just sit there and be brilliant for sitting there and being boys. It makes you that little bit more forward. Pushy. I was singing, always.
I’m a history buff, so I’ve been reading lots of books on Irish and American history.
I have drawn inspiration from the Marine Corps, the Jewish struggle in Palestine and Israel, and the Irish.
Leon Uris
My heritage is Scottish and a lot of Irish, too.
Perdita Weeks
It’s so tough to get movies made in Ireland anymore. A whole generation of Irish filmmakers doesn’t have the resources to get a movie made.
I have a thing for red-haired Irish boys, as we know.
The glory of the old Irish nation, which in our hour will grow young and strong again. Should we fail, the country will not be worth more than it is now. The sword of famine is less sparing than the bayonet of the soldier.
Thomas Francis Meagher
The Irish Republican Army has kept every commitment made by its leadership.
I had to have some balls to be Irish Catholic in South London. Most of that time I spent fighting.
I think the genetics of being Irish are that you sort of prefer when it’s rainy and cloudy. It’s just genetic.
Kate Flannery
There’s something about the Irish that is remarkable.
So many Irish actors overplay that modesty because they’re afraid people will judge them and say, ‘The state of yer man, he thinks he’s great,’ or whatever.
As far as Irish writers being great, I think the fact that there have been two languages in Ireland for a very long time; there has obviously been a shared energy between those two languages.
Garry Hynes
I have the soul of a singer and do splendidly in the shower but the world will never hear it. Basically, I’m the only Irish person who can’t carry a tune.
We have, therefore, directed the Irish Army authorities to have field hospitals established in County Donegal adjacent to Derry and at other points along the Border where they may be necessary.
Jack Lynch
In 1953 there were two ways for an Irish Catholic boy to impress his parents: become a priest or attend Notre Dame.
I find being Irish quite a wearing thing. It takes so much work because it is a social construction. People think you are going to be this, this, and this.
I’m from a small Irish family of 10, so there always was music in the house. Growing up, my older sisters had things like ‘South Pacific‘ and opera on.
Irish people are educated not only about artistry but local history.
I’m an Irish guy who loves his music.
I grew up in northwest London on a council estate. My parents are Irish immigrants who came over here when they were very young and worked in menial jobs all their lives, and I’m one of many siblings.
Amanda Hale
If you are a Northern Irish actor, maybe subconsciously more than consciously, you do have an instinctive responsibility at some point to tackle the recent history of where we have come from. It’s not only a responsibility, but a privilege.
The first play I wrote was called ‘Twenty-five.’ It was played by our company in Dublin and London, and was adapted and translated into Irish and played in America.
I’ve got many different voices – I have a Southern girl, an Irish girl. I have a gibberish language that you’d have to decipher. I guess I try to never take myself too seriously.
Rachel Miner
I’m 100 percent Irish by birth, grew up Italian, and yet I constantly get cast as playing Jewish.
Heather Matarazzo
I think Paul McGuinness and U2 created the Irish music industry. It certainly wasn’t there before that.
The gun is not out of Irish politics.
Ian Paisley
Poets, I think, are born. You can’t teach it. It’s genetic – the circumstances of how you were raised… and there’s probably some Irish in your blood lines.
‘Philomena’ was even better than I had expected. I was so pleased to see the evil Irish nuns thoroughly exposed, and I thought Judi Dench gave a flawless performance, as did everybody else.
I come from an alcoholic Irish background – I know where I was going! But I met my wife and started to practise Buddhism, which is a levelling experience for me, and there hasn’t been a day I’ve missed in 40 years. I apply it to everything – to my work and relationships. I try to be a compassionate person.
I receive huge support from Irish and British sports fans alike and it is greatly appreciated. Likewise I feel I have a great affinity with the American sports fans. I play most of my golf in the U.S. nowadays and I am incredibly proud to have won the U.S. Open and U.S. PGA Championship in the last two years.
I was for two years a pupil at the Model School in Fort street which was then conducted upon the Irish national system, and if any special religious instruction was given in connection with that system, I do not recollect it.
Edmund Barton
My Irish identity is important as it’s a part of who I am.
The characters in ‘Ray Donovan’ are not very articulate – we’re the worst Irish family you could ever live next to in L.A.
I come from a long line of staunch Irish Catholics.
My wife and I both come from Irish families. There are two kinds of Irish families: the hitting kind and the kidding kind. If you’re fortunate – and both of us are – you come from the kidding kind of Irish family.
Alice Oswald. With Hughes and Heaney gone, people are looking around for the best British and Irish poets. Oswald is one of our finest.
Tobias Hill
I was brought up Irish, where there was room for my own private world.
P. L. Travers
My parents are huge influences on me. My mother was an English teacher. My father played professional rugby and coached rugby for the Irish rugby team.
Dad’s Jewish and Irish, Mom’s German and Scotch. I couldn’t say I was anything. My last name isn’t even Downey. My dad changed his name when he wanted to get into the Army and was underage. My real name is Robert Elias. I feel like I’m still looking for a home in some way.
I always think of Ireland as a place for complex ideas and prose. I like Irishness. I like Irish culture and Irish literature.
I went to Irish dance when I was four. I was playing the tin whistle when I was five. So I think certain things are bred into you.
London in the ’70s was a pretty catastrophic dump, I can tell you. We had every kind of industrial trouble; we had severe energy problems; we were under constant terrorist attack from Irish terrorist groups who started a bombing campaign in English cities; politics were fantastically polarized between left and right.
Irish people give big hellos and very little goodbyes. Unless they’re female, and then they spend five hours talking in the doorway to the person that’s leaving their house.
Theatre has no national identity. It is something for the world, whether it is Irish, English, or French.
Cyril Cusack
I am not in the business of pointing fingers or making excuses. However, recent history has shown that I, like thousands of others in Ireland, incorrectly relied upon the persons who guided Anglo and who wrongfully sought to portray a ‘blue chip‘ Irish banking sector.
Sean Quinn
I don’t buy into the idea that an Irish writer should write about Ireland, or a gay writer should write about being gay.
John Boyne
You can have Irish identity in the north and also have your Irish passport.
I want to give Irish kids something to be proud of back home. I want to bring out a stronger image of Ireland instead of ‘Irish Spring‘ and ‘Lucky Charms‘ and all that rubbish.
I wasn’t embraced as an Irish artist back in the Moloko days. Modern electronica isn’t what you think of when you think of Irish music.
I am half Scottish. My father is an expat from Glasgow, and on my mother’s side there’s a bit of French, a bit of Scottish, a bit of Irish.
Adelaide Kane
Growing up with Bronx Irish parents during an era of protests against the status quo, I was especially committed to doing the opposite of what I was told to do. Forty-four years later, I am left with only one means of making a living: comedy.
Greg Fitzsimmons
There is that much to be done that no select or small portion of people can do; only the greater mass of the Irish nation will ensure the achievement of a Socialist Republic, and this can only be done by hard work and sacrifice.
Bobby Sands
Our Irish blunders are never blunders of the heart.
Maria Edgeworth
There is something restless and curious about the Irish. Like everybody else, we want to make money and make our way in the world but it’s not the be all and end all. We also want to have fun, we want to make friends, make connections, share stories.
I bought a flat in Camden when I was 26, which I was extremely lucky to do. I think it’s an Irish thing about owning land, giving you a bit of security.
I have been interested in Irish traditional music for the past few years.
I am who I am: an Irish Catholic kid, working class from Long Island. And I made it big.
At Leeds I’ve tried to concentrate on my club form, but you get caught up in all the World Cup fever once you come back to Ireland and see all the Irish boys again.
Robbie Keane
My mother was very proud of being Irish and being a Gunnigan in a straightforward way.
Have you ever heard of Irish, Poles, Germans, Italians and Jews being integrated? They go anywhere and just enjoy their rights. Why call it integration when black folks do the same thing? It’s a con job.
We do ballet dancing, Irish dancing, Scottish, jazz, tap – whatever country we’re in or whatever culture that we’d like to present to the children.
In old times people used to try and square the circle; now they try and devise schemes for satisfying the Irish nation.
I think people saw him as someone who did good things for Ireland. If you looked at all the Irish actors in ‘Excalibur’ aloneGabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson – there was a whole gaggle of Irish actors who’ve gone on to become stars, so Dad was really part of that.
Our Family is deeply honoured to see the Irish Government taking this enormous interest in the development of the Kennedy Homestead Visitor attraction.
I do a lot of dialects in my act, including Irish, because I grew up in a neighbourhood that was predominantly Irish and Italian.
The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke, but the Scotts haven‘t seen the joke yet.
Oliver Herford
I think there’s something about the Irish experience – that we had to have a sense of humor or die.
All of my dad’s family, his brothers and sisters, my nana and grandad and all of the cousins emigrated to Australia within two years of each other. Irish families are close at the best of times, but when you move to the other side of the world, we were like a big posse over there.
There are hundreds of thousands of Scots who acknowledge English, Irish or Welsh parts of their very being. Lives and destinies are similarly intertwined in Catalonia and Spain, in Ukraine and Russia.
Irish novelist John Banville has a creepy, introverted imagination.
The novel space is a pure space. I’m nobody once I go into that room. I’m not gay, I’m not bald, I’m not Irish. I’m not anybody. I’m nobody. I’m the guy telling the story, and the only person that matters is the person reading that story, the target. It’s to get that person to feel what I’m trying to dramatize.
There might well have been an Irish great-great-grandfather of mine back then in the 1800s.
When Edna O’Brien’s first novel, ‘The Country Girls,’ was published in 1960, her family and neighbors in the small Irish village where she was born tossed copies into a bonfire expressly set for that horrifying purpose.
Alan Cheuse
Irish Americans are no more Irish than Black Americans are Africans.
I had wanted to write English crime novels based on the American hard-boiled style, and for the first two novels about Brixton, the critics didn’t actually know I was Irish.
Ken Bruen
For my last meal, I’d want an Irish breakfast with soda bread and one of my dad’s omelettes with three or four eggs.
Perhaps our Irish friends should not so completely turn their backs on their historical dishes, no matter how many jokes they might have to endure.
I’ve been really inspired by my roots – my ancestors and Irish history.
I believe in all of these Irish myths, like leprechauns. Not the pot of gold, not the Lucky Charms leprechauns. But maybe was there something in the traditional sense? I believe that this stuff came from somewhere other than people’s imaginations.
Megan Fox
I’m Irish; I grew up in Ireland, and it’s impossible to separate my background from who I am as a filmmaker.
Irish is the prominent nationality in the family, but beyond that, I really don’t know. I see a lot of artistic or creative influence coming through on my mother’s side.
William T. Wiley
If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.
Being Irish means you belong to the clan. It’s what you feel. They feel Irish.
Martin Naughton
To marry the Irish is to look for poverty.
J. P. Donleavy
They won’t break me because the desire for freedom, and the freedom of the Irish people, is in my heart.
Bobby Sands
Growing up, I was brought up around Irish music, Irish traditions.
My parents were French and Irish and our family even has Spanish blood-and I do so love the United States and consider myself part American.
Sometimes the archaism of the language when it’s spoken is why we are all in love with the Irish today.
My mother’s family were full-on Irish Catholics – faith in an elaborate old fashioned, highly conservative and madly baroque style. I sort of fell out of the tribe over women’s rights and social justice issues when I was just 13 years old.
I am Irish, so I do like a good fight every now and then.
I remember vividly as a 15-year-old, in 1964, seeing Derry play Glentoran in the Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park in Belfast. Glentoran were one of the two big Belfast teams, along with Linfield. Any rural team playing them was up against the odds.
I hope ‘The Voice’ has a fifteen-year run, don’t get me wrong. But I come from nothing, and maybe it’s the Irish in me, but my attitude is always like, ‘They’ll figure me out soon.’
My parents spent an awful lot of money sending me to the best possible schools, and I came out of my exams and thought, ‘I don’t really want to do a degree.’ I did philosophy with the Jesuits for about a year, and then I joined a bank. While I was there, I saw an ad in an Irish paper for radio announcers.
My last name is originally Irish. I’m not exactly sure whereabouts it’s from, but I’ve got family branches that were traced back there.
I made my final collection in college in London using Irish handwoven wool. That is how I discovered Ireland first; I just fell in love with it, really.
I’ve had support from all sides, from people who call themselves Irish, from Northern Irish, to the whole of the UK, to people in America, and it would be terrible for me to segregate myself from one of those groups that support me so much.
I like Guinness, and that will make anyone Irish. That and soda bread, and I’m good to go.
For every successful actor or actress, there are countless numbers who don’t make it. The name of the game is rejection. You go to an audition and you’re told you’re too tall or you’re too Irish or your nose is not quite right. You’re rejected for your education, you’re rejected for this or that and it’s really tough.
I think that’s why you see so many Americans in Dublin look so sad: they are looking for the door through which they can begin to understand this place. I tell them, ‘Go to the races.’ I think it’s the best place to start understanding the Irish.
My father named me Kelli because ‘Kelli O’Hara’ just sounded so Irish.
I grew up in Manchester in a big Irish family – there are seven of us in all – so my life has always been about role-playing, about doing anything for a laugh. I’m always joking about; that’s the way I am.
Shayne Ward
Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.
Tug McGraw
‘Ulysses’ is the greatest anti-racist text in the English language, and it challenges right from the beginning the vicious racism which lies near the foundations of the Irish Free State and of the Irish republic.
My father was a typical Irish father. He was a nice, hard working, driven guy. His politics were very conservative and I was just a very different kind of kid to that. I was very shy and bookish.
I had grown up as an Irish poet in a country where the distance between vision and imagination was not quite as wide as in some other countries.
Nationalism of the Irish type is often regarded as reactionary. With the World Revolution and the Classless Society waiting for the midwife, why take a torch to the stable to assist at the birth of a puppy? Even if the puppy is pedigree. On this question I am unable to make up my mind.
That’s what the holidays are for – for one person to tell the stories and another to dispute them. Isn’t that the Irish way?
A well-off plastic surgeon can suffer just as much as an Irish lad who has been abused or whatever.
William Nicholson
The Irish fought the Italians until they started marrying them. And then they both fought the Jews until they started marrying them.
In kindergarten, we had this Irish Catholic headmistress called Sister Leonie, and I remember she would tell us, say, to put the crayons in the box. I remember thinking, ‘Why is everyone finding this so easy? Why should the crayons be in the box?’
I was a huge fan of J. Courtney Sullivan’s novel ‘Maine,’ and like that novel, ‘Saint‘ is a family saga set in Boston. Irish Catholic family secrets – is there anything better?
My mother’s Polish; my dad was Irish.
I’m from an Irish Catholic family.
They are gorgeous. They have beautiful blue eyes and lovely dark hair – that’s the typical Irish.
Victoria Silvstedt
When I started writing, most of the police department in New York City, especially above the rank of detective, were Irish, Irish-American. I thought it would be more interesting… to use the actual ethnic background in New York City at the time.
I don’t hate redheads! The millionaire men – wealthy men – never pick them. Every time I offer them they say no. I could say the most gorgeous redhead in the world and they’ll say no, they don’t want it. Now if you ask an Irish guy in Ireland, he saysyes,’ because that’s indigenous to that country.
I felt that the IRA, in the context of Irish history, and Sinn Fein were a legitimate force that had to be recognized, and you wouldn’t have peace without them.
The sport wouldn’t be what it is without the fans, and at UFC 189, watching the Irish fans screaming ‘Ole Ole Ole’ was pretty amazing.
We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.
My mom is Filipino and my dad is half Russian and half Irish.
When others stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.
I am an Irish person. I’m an Irishman, but I’m also an Ulsterman.
In Ehrenfeld, we were all jammed together. All the fathers were foreign-born – Welsh, Irish, Polish, Sicilian. We were so jammed together, we picked up each other’s accents. And we spoke some broken English. When I got into the service, people used to think I was from a foreign country.
This first-generation narrative keeps happening over and over and over again, whether it was Irish or Jewish or our community, South Asians, Japanese-Americans, Mexican-Americans. We’ve all gone through this sort of bridge, and it will continue to happen.
My mother is Irish, my father is black and Venezuelan, and me – I’m tan, I guess.
Many cultures believe that on a certain day – Halloween, the Irish Samhain Eve, Mexico‘s ‘Dia de los Muertos’ – the veil between this world and the next is especially thin.
Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.
The presidency is an independent office and the Irish people whom I appreciate so much and I take with such responsibility have given a very clear mandate on a very clear set of ideas to me, as the ninth president.
I’ve gone into auditions, and I think they have an assumption about me when they see my photo, and then I open my mouth, and they say, ‘Where exactly are you from? And you were born in Ethiopia? But you’re Irish, but you also kind of sound English. That’s really strange.’
I’ve always been fond of my heritage, particularly my Irish heritage. But I’m also from all over the world.
Eugene Simon
Even when they have nothing, the Irish emit a kind of happiness, a joy.
I know this sounds a bit mad, but I always take a tiny green cut-out leprechaun – about the size of a fingernail – with me. My mother gave it to me because we’re Irish. She’s adamant that it brings good luck.
I used to have an Australian accent for school and an Irish accent for home.
Los Angeles is not going to be a big naive step for me. I know it’s tough out there, but I do think there’s a place for Irish actors in that market.
No one would ever cast me as an aristocrat. I think the big thing about being an Irish artist is access to melancholy. Especially the American Irish. The availability of loss, some kind of pain, is an important part of who we are. I think my Irishness gave me that.
Everything that we inherit, the rain, the skies, the speech, and anybody who works in the English language in Ireland knows that there’s the dead ghost of Gaelic in the language we use and listen to and that those things will reflect our Irish identity.
My maternal grandmother was Cantonese, so I’m a quarter Chinese and half Irish and a quarter Scottish and raised by English parents living in Scotland.
To be honest I live among the English and have always found them to be very honest in their business dealings. They are noble, hard-working and anxious to do the right thing. But joy eludes them, they lack the joy that the Irish have.
I had great faith in Irish actors, that they’d be hip to the whole theatre thing, and they are. I had no illusions of coming over here as some kind of big shot. It’s been a learning experience for me too.
As they say, one thing led to another, and, ultimately, the British and Irish governments asked me to serve as chairman of the peace negotiations, which ironically began six years ago this week.
How do you spell the name of the Irish prime minister? It sounds like ‘teeshuck’, but we spell it ‘taoiseach.’ We respect foreign spellings these days – a sign of our more egalitarian times, perhaps.