Bruce Springsteen - ahem, The Boss - comes from a line of Irish hell-raisers, and we couldn't be prouder!
Genealogists found that American rock star Bruce Springsteen’s family tree can be traced back to Co Kildare.
The Boss’s great-great-great-grandfather, Christy Gerrity, from Rathangan, was, in fact, a bit of a hell-raiser.
The Irish Independent reported 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 townland 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 71 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."
Did you know about Bruce Springsteen's Irish roots?
* Originally published in May 2016. Updated in 2021.