The Irish America Hall of Fame officially opens in Ireland - PHOTOS


Forbes estimated Feeney’s wealth to be $1.3 billion in 1988, landing him in the top 20 of its 400 richest people list. However, he was actually worth less than $5 million. As he said in a previous interview with Irish America, “I did not want money to consume my life.”

Michael Flatley

He’s been the world’s most famous lord for the past 15 years. Now Michael Flatley is poised to become a movie star with “Lord of the Dance” in 3-D.

Flatley is a step dancer, actor, choreographer, musician and occasional television presenter. He became internationally known for Irish dance shows “Riverdance”, “Lord of the Dance”, “Feet of Flames” and “Celtic Tiger”.

William Flynn

To say that William J. Flynn has embodied the American dream millions of immigrant parents have for their children is true – but it also understates all that he has accomplished. His story is one of determination and care; of no possibility overlooked and no opportunity abandoned. He has been a leader in business, a catalyst for peace, and he has always been equally committed to his native country and the land of his ancestors.

When William J. Flynn was celebrated in a special issue of Irish America in 2008, the outpouring of praise from both sides of the Atlantic was immense. Irish President Mary McAleese, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, Edward Cardinal Egan, Governor Hugh Carey, and many more came forth with words of great appreciation for Flynn and all that he has done. Though certainly impressive and meaningful, none of this was all that surprising.

Denis Kelleher

Denis Kelleher, the son of a shoemaker, immigrated to New York in 1958, at age 18, with $1.50 in his pocket. In a matter of days the bright young Kerry man charmed his way into a job in Merrill Lynch. In less than a month he went from messenger boy to payroll clerk.

Kelleher progressed through the ranks at Merrill and held several operational positions at the firm.  He was also one of the founders of Ruane Cunniff & Co., Inc., an SEC-registered investment advisor and NYSE member firm and also served as Vice President and Treasurer of the renowned Sequoia Fund from 1970-76. He is the CEO and founder of Wall Street Access, a leading independent firm specializing in institutional research, trading and money management

Jean Kennedy Smith

Often referred to as the shy Kennedy, Jean Kennedy Smith has quietly blazed her own trail while still holding true to the family legacy of public service. The last of the Kennedy siblings still living, Kennedy Smith has devoted her life to advocating for the disabled and working towards peace in Northern Ireland.

Since leaving diplomatic service, Jean Kennedy Smith has received numerous accolades for her work to bring peace to Northern Ireland and for her work with the disabled. The government of the Republic of Ireland granted her honorary citizenship in 1998. She has received honorary degrees from multiple institutions. Most recently, Kennedy Smith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for both her diplomatic service and her humanitarian efforts.

Doctor James Watson

James Watson helped unravel the structure of DNA, a feat so stunning that it is considered the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th century. A Nobel Prize winner as a result, Dr. Watson is deeply proud of his Irish heritage and is “very pleased” to be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame.

Next up for Watson is a cure for cancer, and he believes he once again holds the key to that extraordinary breakthrough. And who can doubt him? At 82, he is as committed and hardworking a scientist as ever.

PHOTOS - The Irish America Hall of Fame photo gallery