THE IRISH 100; Who Are the Top Hundred Men and Women of Irish Descent Who Have Had the Greatest Influence on the Way We Live Today?

Sunday Mirror (London, England), March 11, 2001 | Go to article overview

THE IRISH 100; Who Are the Top Hundred Men and Women of Irish Descent Who Have Had the Greatest Influence on the Way We Live Today?


1. SAINT PATRICK

PATRON Saint of Ireland. Said to have brought Christianity to Ireland, driving all the snakes out of the country in the process. Celebrated annually by Irish people all over the world on March 17.

2. EAMON de VALERA 1882 - 1975

FORMER President, Taoiseach and hero of the Easter Rising. Last commandant of the 1916 rebellion to surrender, he was spared the firing squad because of growing public revulsion at the executions. Became leader of the opposition to Michael Collins's treaty with Britain in 1921. In the civil war that followed, Collins died in an ambush. De Valera survived the war, became a TD and was 16 years as Taoiseach and 14 as President.

3. MICHAEL COLLINS 1890 - 1922

HERO of the Irish republican movement and the man who organised armed opposition to the British after the 1916 Easter Rising. Has been described as the founder of modern guerrilla warfare. Eventually signed a treaty with Britain in 1921, which agreed to a divided Ireland and split republicanism. Assassinated by republican enemies at the age of 31.

4. JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY 1917 - 1963

FIRST Catholic US President. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. His grandfather Patrick J. Kennedy was a political leader in Boston, his mother the daughter of the mayor of Boston. As descendents of Irish immigrants, the Fitzgerald Kennedys were testament to the success and assimilation of many Americans who were also foreign in culture and creed. Became US President in January 1961. Assasinated in Dallas, Texas, in November 1963.

5. CHARLES STEWART PARNELL 1846 - 1891

POLITICIAN. Came to prominence in the 1880s during a conflict between Irish tenant farmers and their English landlords. The Irish Land League introduced the word boycott to the English language in 1880 when, led by Parnell, it refused to harvest the potato crop of Co Mayo land agent Captain Boycott. The protests led to Prime Minister Gladstone's second Land Act of 1881 giving tenants greater rights. Parnell, however, had a spectacular political fall when he was cited in a divorce case in 1890 involving his long-time lover, Kitty O'Shea.

6. MARY ROBINSON 1944 -

FIRST female President of Ireland, from 1990 to 1997. Had a dynamic and liberal presidency and was widely praised for her visits to disaster-stricken areas like Rwanda. In 1996, became the first Irish Head of State to pay an official visit to Britain.

7. PATRICK PEARSE 1879 - 1916

ONE of the best known martyrs of the 1916 rebellion. Pearse, president of the Provisional government and the man who read the proclamation, was first to go before the firing squad. Facing death, Pearse invoked a claimed childhood commitment. "When I was a child of 10," he told the court martial, "I went down on my knees by my bedside one night and promised God that I should devote my life to an effort to free my country."

8. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 1865 - 1939

POET, dramatist and prose writer, one FROM WB Yeats to Bono and Samuel Beckett, dozens of people have put Ireland on the world's cultural map. The Irish 100 by Peter Costello - published in time for St Patrick's Day on Saturday - lists the author's top 100 Irish men and women throughout history, ranked in what he believes is the order of their influence and significance.

The country's patron saint tops the list, with George Best, James Joyce and David Trimble also featuring. Here are the full 100 names...

of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century. Received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Between the Celtic dreams of The Wanderings Of Oisin (1889) and intellectual poetry of 1930s, Yeats produced a huge body of works.

9. JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY 1844 - 1890

POET and novelist. Born near Drogheda in 1844. Joined Fenian movement, bbut betrayed to authorities and court-martialled. Life sentence commuted to 20 years' penal servitude in Australia.

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THE IRISH 100; Who Are the Top Hundred Men and Women of Irish Descent Who Have Had the Greatest Influence on the Way We Live Today?
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