We should have guessed it. Those dashing good looks, the great voice and the tendency to burst into song at the least opportunity…despite being an all-American icon, it turns out that Bruce Springsteen has Irish heritage, according to research by genealogists.
The great-great-great-grandfather of the American rock star was named Christy Gerrity and came from Rathangan in Co Kildare.
Gerrity is described as being ‘something of a hellraiser as a young man’.
Gerrity left Kildare for New Jersey in 1853 and as the generations passed, the Gerritys became the Springsteens. In 1949, the infant that would grow up to become ‘The Boss’ was born (in the USA, of course).
The research was carried out by genealogists at the Irish Family History Centre. Mark Henry of Tourism Ireland was delighted to hear of Springsteen’s Irish heritage.
He said: “Bruce Springsteen may have been Born in the USA – but his ancestors emigrated from Ireland in 1853 and we are delighted to share the details of his Irish ancestry.
“We are encouraging people around the world to visit the island of Ireland in 2016 and learn more about their heritage.
“Our message to the Irish Diaspora everywhere is that there has never been a better time to visit, to trace their ancestry and learn more about their Irish roots.”
Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, goes into detail about his Catholic upbringing – including the harsh treatment he endured at the hands of the priests and nuns.
He wrote: “My knuckles classically rapped, my tie pulled ’til I choked… All business as usual in a Catholic school in the fifties. Still, it left a mean taste in my mouth and estranged me from my religion for good.”
However, later in life he realised that being a Catholic was always a part of who he was.
He said that he ‘came to ruefully and bemusedly understand that once you’re a Catholic you’re always a Catholic. I don’t participate in my religion but I know somewhere…deep inside…I’m still on the team’.
There’s another reason we should have known that Springsteen has a touch of Irish in him; he’s a big fan of Irish folk music and the influece can be heard in some of his songs. He’s even recorded the old anti-war song, Mrs McGrath and as you would expect, put his own inimitable stamp on it.
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling