Genealogists have found that American rock star Bruce Springsteen’s family tree can be traced back to County Kildare. The Irish New Jersey star played two packed out gigs at Dublin's Croke Park stadium this weekend.
The Boss’s great-great-great-grandfather, Christy Gerrity, from Rathangan, was in fact a bit of a hell-raiser.
The Irish Independent reports that in 1823 Gerrity was arrested and imprisoned under the Insurrection Act, which targeted those protesting the social injustice of excessive tithes, rent payments and related evictions of the time.
However, in 1827 he married Catherine Kelly. They lived in a simple mud cabin in the town land of Mountprospect and had eight children. Gerrity worked as a carrier transporting people, goods, and livestock, researchers at the Irish Family History Centre discovered.
In 1853, due to the Famine, the family left Ireland for New Jersey.
Springsteen discussed his Irish roots, in 2010, during his Ellis Island Medal award. During his speech Springsteen thanked the Irish side of his family the O’Farrells, Garrity and McNicholas clans and stated his wife Patty who is also part irish and he had continued the great Mid-New Jersey tradition of Irish and Italians marrying.
His Irish grandmother settled in the town of Freehold, NJ where Bruce himself was born 65 years ago.
Springsteen went to the Catholic St Rose of Lima School, where he was taught by Irish nuns. It had a lasting impact on him. Some of his later music reflects a Catholic ethos and includes a few rock-influenced, traditional Irish-Catholic hymns.
In a 2012 interview, he explained that it was his Catholic upbringing rather than political ideology that most influenced his music. He noted in the interview that his faith had given him a "very active spiritual life," although he joked that this "made it very difficult sexually." He added: "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic."
Here's the moment on Sunday night, at Croke Park, when U2's Bono arrived on stage with The Boss:
"We are encouraging people around the world to visit the island of Ireland in 2016 and learn more about their heritage," said Mark Henry, of Tourism Ireland.
"Our message to the Irish diaspora everywhere is that there has never been a better time to visit, to trace their ancestry and learn more about their Irish roots."
Read more: News on Irish ancestry here