8 Irish men and women who dreamed big and went to the US
For hundreds of years Irish men and women have crossed the Atlantic in the hope of making a better life and daring to dream big. Here are eight of them.
Conor Mc Gregor
The lad has come a long way since his days playing football on the street in Crumlin. Conor ditched his potentially steady job as a plumber’s apprentice to head to the States and dream big. Escaping poverty, McGregor often recall’s his time standing in the dole queue and the negative effects it had on his self-esteem, he’s gone from a life in Crumlin struggling to make ends meet, to living the American dream, doing what he loves and making it big time. McGregor is looking to increase his personal wealth to $100 million this year. Just think, next time you’ve got a leaky tap in your home and you call a plumber round. That whippet of a boy with his head in under the sink, could have been McGregor. Conor has never forgotten his roots and claims when the time comes and he’s achieved all he can in the States he’ll be moving back home.
Born in Co. Antrim in 1745, William Paterson moved as a toddler to the United States. He indeed dreamed big and his place in history was assured signatory to the United States Constitution, and when from 1776 to 1783, he served as the state's attorney general. “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan,” is attributed to him.
Born and raised in Belfast with eight siblings, Moore emigrated to Canada in 1948 and later lived in the United States. He was a writer for the Montreal Gazette from 1952, but is best known for his first novel, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, his later novels include The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1960), The Emperor of Ice Cream (1965), The Doctor's Wife (1976), and The Magician's Wife (1998). Moore has been described as “one of the few genuine masters of the contemporary novel”, his work garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success while somehow being somewhat overlooked at home in Ireland.
The former wild boy Castleknock native went from starring in Ballykisangel. Almost every actor dreams of making it in Hollywood and Farrell has had so much success he can pick and choose his work. It was Joel Schumacher who plucked him from relative obscurity to star in Tigerland and from their Hollywood beckoned. No more making headlines for all the wrong headlines, Farrell is now a settled and devoted father to his two boys James and Henry.
The Ballymena man was enrolled at Queesn’s in Belfast as a Physics and Compute Science student before ditching it and following his dream to become an actor. But first he had to pick up casual work as a forklift operator at Guinness Brewery and a truck driver. He found a home for his talent in Belfast’s Lyric Players Theatre where John Boorman saw him in a production of Of Mice and Men and cast him in Excalibur after which he moved to London. Form London he went on the LA via work on Darkman and when Spielberg cast him as Oscar Schindler, we became a household name. Neeson is one of the most respected actors working in Hollywood today and has got there through hard work.
Dubliner Byrne started acting at the Focus theatre but got his real big break in RTE’s The Riordans and later Bracken. A role in Excalibur as Arthur’s father saw his star rise and an appearance in the miniseries Wagner with Richard Burton, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. His big break stateside came when the Cohen brothers cast him in Miller’s Crossing and he revealed his brilliance in a noirish lead. He is now an accomplished writer, actor, producer, director and cultural ambassador.
McCann ditched his job a reporter and columnist with the Irish Press to head to the States to follow his dream of becoming a novelist. His career has built steadily with growing success of his novels. Let The Great World Spin won the coveted National Book Award for Fiction and he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at Hunter College, New York.
Born in Dublin in 1917 and raised in Ranelagh Maeve Brennen move to the United States in 1934 when her father was appointed to the Irish Legation in Washington. Brennan found a job as a fashion copywriter for Harper’s Bazaar in the 40s and later was offered a staff job at The New Yorker. Originally working a social diarist The New Yorker began publishing her short stories in 1950. While becoming widely read and respected in the United States, she remained virtually unknown in Ireland. Her talent has only recently become acknowledged this side of the Atlantic and a revival awaits.
Budweiser Dream Big is giving one winner and their ‘Best bud’ the chance to follow their American Dream. Go stateside for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the value of €50,000. The winner will be inspired, mentored and coached. They’ll come back to Ireland dreaming even bigger and brighter than before. Entering the competition is easy, just share your ‘American dream’ and demonstrate your passion. Tell us how badly you want this. Inspire us with your story. To find out more, be inspired and check the terms and conditions visit BudDreamBig.ie or Facebook.com/Budweiser
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