Before I get started, yes, I know these depictions are stereotypes which in no way reflect all the Irish or their culture, etc, etc... but they're characters I enjoy. Anyway, there have been so many stereotypical portrayals of Scots that I'm giving myself a pass. Which isn't to say that I don't enjoy the Scottish characters as well... it's all good fun. So, here we go:
He's probably my absolute favourite... I'd watch him in anything. I've reviewed two of his movies on this site: "Going My Way" and "The Naked City". In G.M.W. he's an Irish American priest, and in T.N.C., a police detective. He's also well known for his portrayal of a lovable Irish rogue in John Ford's "The Quiet Man".
You can't have one without the other... Bing plays opposite Barry in "Going My Way" as the unorthodox Father "Chuck" O'Malley. Probably his best role, which he would later reprise in "The Bells of St Mary's" with Ingrid Bergman. It's a good movie too, but would have been improved if Fitzgerald had been in it as well. Frankly, Crosby had better chemistry with him than with Bergman.
McLaglen was, in fact, Scottish not Irish... and seems to have remained one in his role as Sgt. MacChesney in the very excellent "Gunga Din". He gained fame, however, playing a series of hard-drinking, hard-fighting Irishmen in John Ford's trilogy: "Fort Apache", "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon", and "Rio Grande", as well as in his "The Quiet Man."
Maureen O'Hara had a prolific film career spanning many decades. She, too, is in "Rio Grande", as John Wayne's estranged wife, though in that film (which is the best of the trilogy) she's supposed to be a former Southern belle.To see her as a fiery red-haired Irish colleen, you have to watch "The Quiet Man" in which she also stars with John Wayne. And with Fitzgerald and McLaglen, for that matter.
O.K., this might be a bit more obscure, but there's this really wacky Disney musical called "The Happiest Millionaire," the oddest thing about it being that it's based on a true story, and the most unlikely things in it are the true bits. While this is by no means a masterpiece, it has a peculiar- and I do mean peculiar- charm about it, mostly because of Mr. Biddle- played by Fred MacMurray- a character who fascinates me. But Tommy Steele is also quite good as John Lawless, an Irish immigrant who gets a job as a butler with the eccentric Biddle family. The music was done by the Sherman brothers, who provided Steele with a few songs to showcase his singing ability: "Fortuosity", "I'll Always Be Irish", and "Let's Have A Drink On It". Apparently Tommy Steele is also in the Ireland-set movie, "Finian's Rainbow" with Fred Astaire. I've never watched it. I'm afraid to.
Speaking of Disney and the Sherman brothers, in "Mary Poppins", there is a charming Irish fox whom Burt helps escape from the "red coats" during the chalk drawing scene. If nothing else, his Irish brogue is more convincing than Dick Van Dyke's Cockney accent... which isn't to say that I don't love Van Dyke in the movie- in both his roles.
Leaping over to the world of television for a moment, let's give some appreciation to Meaney for gifting us with Chief Miles O'Brien, a breath of fresh air in the stale and stifling atmosphere of Star Trek: T.N.G. He gave us some hope that the future wasn't going to be completely populated by sanctimonious prigs who would so often bore us with their self-righteous pontificating. O'Brien was Everyman, who reacted like a human being to situations and circumstances, and it was no surprise when he moved over to the much superior- and far more interesting- Star Trek: D.S.9.
Well, that's about all I've got for now... I know that I've no doubt left off any number of stellar performances which I'll remember later on. If you have any favourites, feel free to list them in the comments and, Irish or not, have a great, great day.