PHOTOS - In their own words: top Hollywood Irish discuss their heritage - a slideshow

Anne Hathaway

Hathaway's heritage actually goes back to Ireland, and in particular, Cork and Donegal.

She said "On my father's side, we have relatives all over Cork and Donegal. Ireland is such an amazing country, and I have this little dream in the back of my head that someday I'll end up living there.

"When I've established myself in America, and I don't need to live near the action, so to speak. If you're good, the work will come to you. I feel very Irish; maybe that's why I've been so lucky with my career."

Lara Flynn Boyle

Being an Irish Chicagoan came with all the rites of passage for Boyle, including weekend trips with her mother to Notre Dame football games, Irish dance lessons, and braving the Windy City's frigid breezes to dance in the city's St. Patrick's Day parades.

Boyle maintains that she is "seven-eighths Irish," a fact borne out by the traditions bestowed on her by her paternal grandmother, Helen O'Shaughnessy, her paternal grandfather, Jack Boyle, and her maternal grandmother, Kathleen Flynn, from whom she obtained the middle name "Flynn".

Ashton Kutcher

Kutcher said he was "Irish, Bohemian and Native American" on The Tonight Show  (8/12/03). Kutcher's mother is Irish-American

Bridget Moynahan

She is Irish on both sides of her family. Her mother’s family are Moriartys, from County Donegal and County Clare. Her father’s side are Moynahans from County Cork.She has visited Ireland many times, and has an Aunt Bridget in Ireland who was delighted to meet her, "largely because she was so happy that her name was being passed along..."

PHOTOS - In their own words: top Hollywood Irish discuss their heritage - a slideshow

Ben Stiller

He is half Jewish and half Irish. Being of Irish and Jewish heritage, Stiller’s parents serve green matzoh ball soup during their annual Saint Patrick’s Day dinner. Stiller’s great-grandfather, James Meara came to the United States from Liverpool aboard the Parthia on 19 May 1881.

Owen Wilson

Wilson grew up in Dallas, the middle child of Irish Catholic parents who were both funny and creative; his mother is a photographer, his father a writer.

The family is prone to a melancholy moodiness, an "Irish strain of depression," Wilson said, that goes back generations. "The Irish way of dealing with that is humor," he added.

"It's supposed to be England, if we go back to Jack the Ripper time. I don't know where, maybe Prague and London. I would like it to be Dublin, to be Ireland, because that's where my ancestors are from and I think I get along well with Irish people." 

Bill Maher

Larry King asked him "Are you angry, Bill? Are you by nature angry?

Maher responded "You see that I'm trying – Irish, all Irish people are.

King: Why is that? We have never discussed this.

Maher: Potatoes.

King. We didn't have enough potatoes in the 1850s. They ran out of them. It has been in out blood ever since.

King: It does stem back from that?

Maher: But I think we need more angry people, and among them Democrats. That's why Democrats used to be great Irish politicians. And there is not enough of those Irish..."

John Travolta

John Travolta has more of a claim than others, being half Irish on his mother Helen's side and growing up in a predominantly Irish neighbourhood in New Jersey.

His mother was also a drama coach. Although the Italian side of his lineage is what he is most recognised for, Travolta himself sees it differently. He told Plus Magazine "The emotional, romantic, whimsical part of me is Irish. Spiritually, I probably feel more like an Irishman – that's where my heart is."

Jack Nicholson

Nicholson said of his maternal grandmother "She began as Ethel May Rhoads of Chester, Pennsylvania, only daughter of upright Pennsylvania Dutch Protestants, and when she married John Nicholson, a working class Irish Catholic, her irate family broke their ties and disinherited her."

Bill Murray

Murray, who will be spending more time at home in upstate New York, has come a distance from his humble Irish roots. Growing up in a large Catholic family in the suburbs of Chicago, Murray was one of nine children of Lucille and Edward Murray, a lumber salesman. 

He once said "I'm a hundred per cent Irish. I'm an American – but the blood is green."

PHOTOS - In their own words: top Hollywood Irish discuss their heritage - a slideshow