Sometimes it takes an outsider to shed a new light on a place. That’s exactly what happened with Brandon Stanton, a Georgia native who worked in his early 20s as a bond trader in Chicago. After losing his job, Stanton began to teach himself how to use a camera. In August 2010, he made his way to New York and began traveling the city looking for people to photograph. His initial plan was to take 10,000 photos and then create a map of New York with them, but the project soon evolved in a different, more personal direction, and the rest is social (and social media) history.

In October of 2013, he released a book with St. Martin’s Press, which reached the number one spot on the New York Times Best-Seller list. Humans of New York is now has over 16 million followers on Facebook (as a point of comparison, that’s a little less than theree times the population of the Republic of Ireland.)

Following a number of thoughtful posts from Stanton on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, we thought it was high time to look back over his close to four years snapping photos on the streets of New York to find his best Irish subjects. They’re collected below, from oldest to newest, which is especially interesting as it will allow you to see how his approach has changed from simple captions to sometimes silly, sometimes deep exchanges with the people he meets. Enjoy.

*Originally published in August 2014