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‘The Quiet Man,’ starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, exemplifies classic Irish Catholic films. Ireland’s faith, landscape and people have a long legacy in cinema. (photo: Republic Pictures)

Irish Catholics have made their mark in cinema.

The cultural pallet of America was tinted green when an influx of Irish immigrants poured into the United States in the 19th and early-20th centuries. At first, the Irish immigrant story was one of a downtrodden population group trapped in poverty and chaos. There is a reason circa-1800s horse-drawn police vehicles in New York were called “Paddy wagons.”

Thanks to some courageous Catholics, like New York Archbishop John Hughes, who acted like an Irish tribal chieftain and almost single-handedly pulled the Irish out of their squalor in the 19th century, the Irish began to rise. By the dawn of the 1900s, the Irish were holding political office and increasingly becoming part of the American middle and even upper classes.  …

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