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Today is the day that Trekkies have been waiting for – J.J. Abrams' much-anticipated“Star Trek” opens in theaters across the U.S.
The latest version of the sci-fi saga, which already has six TV series and 11 feature films to its name, is expected to be a box office smash, and will introduce the epic story of Captain Kirk and the rest of the starship crew to a younger generation.
And believe it or not, “Star Trek” has some Irish roots.
Beloved Irish actor Colm Meaney is a “Star Trek” vet. The Dubliner shares the record with actor Michael Dorn for most appearances on the media franchise, acting in a whopping 225 TV episodes as Chief Miles O’Brien.
Meaney made his debut on starship “Enterprise” on the pilot episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in 1987. In 1993, the Irishman joined the show’s spin off, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and remained on the program until its final episode in 1999.
Irish Americans such as James Doohan, the original Scotty, and Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” are part of the “Star Trek” club.
The show itself referenced Ireland in one of its episodes.
The crew of “Star Trek: Voyager” lived up to its name and boldy went “where no man has gone before”: a remote, simulated village in Ireland, where a crew member fell in love with a holographic Irish bartender.
Captain Janeway and crew take a trip to a 19th century Irish village called Fair Haven (which sounds more like a town that belongs in New Jersey). The village is the product of a "holodeck," or a simulated town (think the Matrix).
Fair Haven is the home of a stock Irish TV character: the charming Irishman. Enter Michael Sullivan, local barman - and a hologram. Though she knows he's not real, when Captain Janeway meets Michael, she soon falls for him – especially after adjusting the simulated man by making him even more delightfully dishy in a fairly Irish way. (She makes him single, and upgrades his degree from University College Dublin to Trinity College.)
When it's time for Captain Janeway to return to her ship, the U.S.S. Voyager, she tells Michael, who by now has fallen for Janeway himself, and who doesn’t realize he is the product of a computer program, that she must leave Fair Haven – why, she doesn’t say, and for where, she won’t reveal.
And when she gets back safely on board U.S.S. Voyager, she permanently cuts off access to her beloved imitation barman. (Check out the clip above of the lovesick hologram in question, Michael Sullivan, drowning away his sorrows after losing Captain Janeway.)
But the Irish haven’t always been proud to be part of “Star Trek” – the show was at one point banned in Ireland for a controversial line in the script.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" was barred from Irish screens back in 1990 after one of the characters, Lt. Commander Data, described the effectiveness of terrorist campaigns, citing the "unification of Ireland of 2024" as an example.
Who knew that a prediction from a "Star Trek" android could be considered to be of such Irish political importance?