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13 Hollywood Actors with Irish Roots

Many Hollywood actors have Irish ancestry—here are just a few to highlight.

Actors Charlie Gillespie and Dylan O'Brien with a green background showing a clover and the text: 13 Actors with Irish Roots.
13 Hollywood Actors with Irish Roots (Shown: Charlie Gillespie and Dylan O'Brien)

You can alternatively watch a video on this ancestry report on YouTube here:

On Saint Patrick's Day, "everyone is a little Irish," as the saying goes, and there are so many celebrities with Irish ancestry that this roundup will just scratch the surface. Let's start with the first four, who are wonderful people that I have met in person.

Dylan Minnette's Irish Roots

First up is Dylan Minnette. I've traced Dylan's Minnette line to his 7th great grandfather, Garrett Minnette, born about 1746 in County Galway, Ireland. Dylan is also special because he and I share a common ancestor, our 7th great grandfather, George Ringer, from Indiana.

Actor Dylan Minnette backstage after Wallows concert with Mike Batie, being presented with a binder on his ancestry.
I was lucky to be able to share with Dylan Minnette a binder of his ancestry that I prepared for him, and have enjoyed attending many of his Wallows band concerts.

Charlie Gillespie's Irish Ancestry

Charlie Gillespie's late grandfather was involved in the Irish Society in his local area in Canada, and I have traced Charlie's patriarchal Gillespie line to his 5th great-grandfather, James Gillespie, born about 1778 in Ireland.

Actor Charlie Gillespie (from Julie and the Phantoms) with mike Batie
I've been super lucky to meet Charlie Gillespie a couple of times, at a conference and while serving as a background extra in his hockey movie, "Shattered Ice." Charlie is a really awesome dude!

Dylan O'Brien's Surname Indicative of His Irish Roots

With his surname being a big giveaway, Dylan O'Brien is about 50% Irish, with all of his father's side descending from Irish immigrants from Counties Cork, Mayo, and Tipperary. I've traced his O'Brien line to his third great-grandfather, Michael O'Brien, born about 1850 in County Kerry, Ireland.

Actor Dylan O'Brien takes a photo with Mike Batie at the Sundance Film Festival in 2024.
Dylan O'Brien was super kind to say hi and take a photo with me on his way into the screening of his film, "Ponyboi," at the Sundance Film Festival in 2024. This kind fellow was super nice and gave my arm a reassuring little squeeze.

Saoirse Ronan's Irish Heritage

Saoirse Ronan was born in New York City, to Irish parents. Her family moved back to Ireland during her childhood, and she grew up in the Dublin area. She has citizenship in both Ireland and the United States.

Saoirse Ronan takes a photo with Mike Batie at the Sundance Film Festival.
The lovely Saoirse Ronan was so kind to take a photo after the premiere of her film, "The Outrun," at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

Chris Evan's Irish Roots

Through his mother, actor Chris Evans is 25% Irish. We can trace his line to at least his 5th great-grandfather, Andrew Coggins, in County Sligo, Ireland.

Actor Chris Evans in his series, Defending Jacob.
Actor Chris Evans is at least 25% Irish.

Anne Hathaway's Irish Ancestry

Anne Hathaway has Irish ancestry through both parents, making her more than 60% Irish. Anne has said that she has roots in Counties Cork and Donegal, Ireland on her father’s side.

Anne Hathaway in her film, The Devil Wears Prada
Anne Hathaway is over 60% Irish.

The Jonas Brothers Descend from Irish Immigrants

On their mother's side, the Jonas Brothers—Kevin, Joe, and Nick—trace to their 2nd great-grandparents, Michael Carroll and Bridget Lyons, who came from Ireland as immigrants to America.

The Jonas Brothers performing in the series Dash and Lily.
The Jonas Brothers are descended from Irish immigrants to America.

Josh Hartnett's Irish Heritage

Through his father, actor Josh Hartnett is 25% Irish, through a line that goes back to his 5th great-grandfather, William Hartnett, born in 1750 in Cork, Ireland.

Actor Josh Hartnett in his movie Pearl Harbor - Article by Mike Batie
Actor Josh Hartnett's Irish line traces back to Ireland in 1700s.

Mariah Carey's Irish Side

Most of Mariah Carey's ancestors on her mother's side were immigrants from Ireland to America. We can trace Mariah's Irish ancestors to at least her third great-grandfather, John Blanchfield, born about 1822 in Ireland.

Mariah Carey's matriarchal side is mostly Irish.

Ben and Casey Affleck's Irish Roots

On their mother's side, we can trace brother actors Ben and Casey Affleck's Irish line to County Down, Ireland, to their second great-grandfather, Edward Lanihan, born about 1830.

Ben and Casey Affleck in their film, Good Will Hunting.
Ben and Casey Affleck (top) can trace their Irish line through a 2nd great-grandfather born in Ireland.

Kate and Rooney Mara's Irish Ancestry

Sister actresses Kate and Rooney Mara are both well over half Irish, and their great-uncle, Dan Rooney, was the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

Actress Rooney Mara in The Social Network, and Kate Mara in Avengers.
Sister actresses Rooney Mara and Kate Mara are more than half Irish.

Irish Ancestry in the United States

Around 11% or more of the population in the United States has Irish roots, with some areas and large cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia having 20% or more of their population made up of people with Irish ancestry. What about you? Do you have any Irish ancestry?


About the Author

Storytelling binds generations. Films and family history are both powerful forms of storytelling that do just that. Family history research has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. Having researched my own family tree extensively, I enjoy looking into the family trees of my favorite actors and entertainers. To see their roots and where they come from is always inspiring. I’m often left in awe of the experiences of their ancestors and how they connect to the present day. I hope to inspire others to research their own family trees and find out where they come from by sharing interesting insights from the family trees of notable figures.

—Mike Batie

Questions? Comments? Send me a message on the contact form on my About page.

Mike Batie - Hollywood Ancestry
Mike Batie

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