Famous Irish outlaws, highwaymen, cowboys, pirates, and gangsters have broken and evaded the law throughout America and the Wild West for centuries.
Whether down under in Australia or hustling in the American Wild West, Irish outlaws have found themselves up there among the most infamous cowboys, highwaymen, and gangsters in the world.
From famous Irish pirate queens to famous Irish mafia in Hell's Kitchen in New York, the Irish have quite a history of rebellion and renegade behavior. Here are the ten most famous Irish men -- and one woman -- who lived outside the law.
Billy the Kid
(1859 – 1881)
Real name William McCarty, Billy the Kid has become one of the legendary figures of the Wild West. His mother was an Irish immigrant who grew up in Ireland and raised her son in a New York slum before he headed out west.
(1855 – 1880)
Iconic figure of Australian legend, son of Tipperary emigrants who has come to symbolize the rebellious Australian spirit.
James 'Whitey' Bulger
(1929 - )
Imprisoned for racketeering in 2011, he was on the run from the FBI for over 14 years. A Boston mafia kingpin who is reputed to have killed or ordered the killings of up to 50 people.
The Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley
(1530 - 1603)
Grace O'Malley, famous Irish sea pirate of the 16th century. Her fame became so great that Queen Elizabeth I summoned her to London in order to meet her. The Broadway Show The Pirate Queen was based on her life.
(1871 - 1937)
The Dalton gang were all known as the "Wild Bunch," one of the most famous train robber families in American history. Emmett Dalton was their ringleader and the only survivor of the famous Coffeyville shootout in 1892.
(1719 – 1788)
He was an Irish highwayman, the most famous of that era. Freney's family in Kilkenny had their lands taken from them by the English, and he took to highway robberies to get revenge. Pursued all over Ireland, he managed to escape into exile but his body was later brought back to Kilkenny where he is still alive in the folk memory.
John "Legs" Diamond
(July 10, 1897 - December 18, 1931)
Real name Jack Moran, Legs Diamond was the son of an Irish immigrant. Also known as Gentleman Jack, he was a well-known Irish American gangster and bootlegger in New York City during the Prohibition era. Famous for surviving numerous attempts on his life
Owney "The Killer" Madden
(December 18, 1891 – April 24, 1965)
He was a leading underworld figure in Manhattan, most notable for his involvement in organized crime during Prohibition. He also ran the famous Cotton Club and was a leading boxing promoter in the 1930s. Though English born, his parents were both from Ireland.
Charles Dean O'Banion
(July 8, 1892 – November 10, 1924)
He was an Irish American mobster who was the main rival of Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. The newspapers of his day called him Dion O'Banion, although he never went by that name.
(July 13, 1934 – May 13, 1977)
Much better known as Mickey Spillane, he was an Irish-American mobster from Hell's Kitchen. Spillane, who was called the "last of the gentleman gangsters," was a marked contrast to the violent Westies gang members who succeeded him in Hell's Kitchen.
Who is your favorite Irish outlaw? Let us know their story in the comments section, below.
* Originally published in 2013.