It has been an amazing year news and entertainment wise in the Irish American community and in Ireland. Here are my Top Ten most important and interesting Irish news stories.

President Obama’s immigration order:

After decades of continued frustration on immigration issues Obama finally moved the needle with an immigration order that will allow thousands of Irish among others to stop living in fear in America.

The street protests over water charges in Ireland:

After years of wondering why the Irish seemed so accepting of massive economic hardship the worm finally tuned with massive demonstrations.

St. Patrick's Day Parade announces a gay group can march:

Many doubted the day would ever dawn but it did and the Cardinal gave his imprimatur. At last the most divisive fight in the Irish American community may be at an end.

The continued rise of Sinn Fein in the Irish Republic:

Despite numerous setbacks including the tragic Mairia Cahill case the party still ended up the year as the most popular one in Ireland according to polls.

The return of Rory McIlroy after the break up with his fiance Caroline Wozniacki:

McIlroy seemed to become a new man and won two major championships in a most remarkable return.

Maureen O’Hara’s Oscar:

After decades of being ignored, despite the incredible number of huge hits such as "The Quiet Man," Maureen O’Hara was finally acknowledged by Hollywood with an honorary Oscar.

Nobel Prize in Medicine for John O’Keefe:

He is the South Bronx-born son of Irish immigrants from Cork who went to City College en route to becoming one of the best scientific minds in the world. O’Keefe has been mapping the brain’s GPS system which could very well lead to a breakthrough in learning how Alzheimer’s affects the brain and a possible cure.

Appointment of Ireland’s first Diaspora minister:

Irish leader Enda Kenny did the right thing by emigrants when he appointed Ireland's first Diaspora minister and Jimmy Deenihan took up the role.

Rise of Hozier:

An unknown musician just 12 months ago the Wicklow-born performer is now bidding fair to be the best thing since Van Morrison. Letterman, "Saturday Night Live" etc both welcomed a new star.

Bill de Blasio seeking to ban horse carriages:

Putting 300 workers, including 50 Irish, out of work in order to placate the animal rights lobby gave some insight into how New York Mayor Bill de Blasio works. This crass move could be his undoing however, as the City Council may block it.