Robert De Niro, star of “The Irishman,” has roots in both Ireland and Syracuse’s ‘Tipperary Hill’ neighborhood
Hollywood legend Robert De Niro, who has roots in Ireland and links to the Irish community in Syracuse, New York, is reportedly being considered for an honor at this year’s Syracuse St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Boston-based genealogist Jim McNiff brought De Niro’s Irish roots to the attention of the upstate New York city's parade committee. According to McNiff, he has spoken to a member of the parade committee and the group will discuss asking De Niro, whose father was raised in the predominantly Irish neighborhood of Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, to accept an honor at this year’s celebrations.
McNiff told The Irish Echo that he traced the De Niro’s great-great-grandmother Ellen Hall to Dundrum, a tiny town near the Rock of Cashel in Co Tipperary. Hall was baptized in the Catholic parish of Knockavilla and later immigrated to the US with her parents Thomas Hall and Bridget (nee Ryan).
Amateur genealogists Kate and Mike Lancor had also previously traced De Niro’s Irish roots to Co Tipperary in September: “We were able to successfully trace his ancestors back to his third great grandparents in Co. Tipperary in the early 1800s.
“Robert’s Irish ancestors on the O’Reilly side emigrated to the U.S. during the Irish famine in the late 1840s. They became part of the great Irish American tapestry and their story is one of determination and perseverance, as was the case with the millions of other brave Irish emigrants who had the courage to venture off to the promise of a new life across the Atlantic Ocean.”
According to McNiff, Ellen Hall is a new name in the De Niro ancestry as it was previously thought that De Niro’s great-grandfather, Dennis O’Reilly, was born to American woman Margaret O’Reilly. Margaret, however, was Edward O’Reilly’s second wife - his first wife, and Dennis’s mother, was Ellen Hall.
Dennis O’Reilly’s daughter Helen married Italian-American Henry De Niro and the couple had three children, the eldest being Robert De Niro’s father, Robert De Niro, Sr, and resided in Syracuse.
In 1942, Robert De Niro, Sr married Virginia Admiral. The two separated, however, shortly after Robert De Niro’s birth in 1943 as De Niro, Sr came out as gay. The future Hollywood icon grew up in Manhattan living with his mother and spending a lot of time with his father.
It's unclear as to whether or not De Niro will be receiving an honor at this year's Syracuse St. Patrick's Day Parade, but considering the actor's local Irish roots and the smashing success of "The Irishman," there's probably no better time!