Actor Tom Cruise has received a certificate to mark his Irish roots after researchers discovered one of his ancestors restored evicted tenants to lands just before the famine.
Patrick Russell Cruise, his great-great-great grandfather, returned from America to Ireland after his land agent forced families from farms in Co Westmeath in 1843. The landlord restored tenants to 500 acres around the townlands in Paristown and Dardistown in the years before the Great Famine when potato crops repeatedly failed.
Cruise was in Dublin for the premiere of his latest blockbuster Oblivion at the Savoy cinema, engagements with the Irish Film Board, a pre-recorded Late Late Show interview and a visit to the Guinness brewery.
The Hollwood A-lister, remembered for a cringing Irish accent in the 1992 film Far And Away, was honoured for his Irishness with a reception hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Ireland. Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore presented the star with a framed certificate.
Cruise was born Tom Cruise Mapathor IV in 1962. Research commissioned by Tourism Ireland on behalf of The Gathering - an initiative to attract the Irish diaspora to visit Ireland through 2013 - revealed that the Cruise and Mapathor families had settled in Ireland, with roots going back 800 years. A third family, the Russells, were also prominent in Cruise's ancestry. Tourism Ireland claimed Cruise's ancestry includes knights, rebels and the "hero landlord".
The Cruises can trace their presence in Ireland back to the Anglo-Normans and Strongbow, Richard de Clare, earl of Pembroke and lord of Leinster. In 1176 Augustino de Cruce, one of Strongbow's knights, acted as a legal witness to a grant by Strongbow of lands in Dublin.
The Cruises and the Russells were old English families who refused to conform to the Protestant faith and lost their lands in Ireland when they rebelled against Oliver Cromwell. The families were united by marriage in 1766 and all subsequent relations including Patrick Russell Cruise had the double-barrelled surname.
His ancestor, Patrick Russell Cruise, was himself honoured publicly for his compassion for farmers on his land when a dinner was held in the town of Clonmellon in November 1844. He died in Dublin in March 1849 without returning to America and was buried in Donabate, north Dublin. Other ancestors include Cruise's paternal great-great-grandmother Mary Pauline Russell-Cruise and his great-great grandfather Dillon Henry Mapother whose family were from Kilteevan, Co Roscommon.
The Mapothers were Elizabethan settlers originally from Dorset, England. Dillon Henry Mapother moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and on his death Mary Pauline married an Irishman called Thomas O'Mara and the couple had a son called Thomas O'Mara Junior. On the death of Thomas Senior, his son took the name of his mother Cruise and his half-brother, Cruise Mapother, becoming Thomas Cruise Mapother I. A-lister Tom Cruise is his great-grandson and the fourth member of the family to carry the name.
Cruise said he had been taken aback by the extent of his ancestry, and added: "It's a great honour for me and for my whole family - I can't wait to bring it back to them and enlighten them on their history. I'm very proud to be Irish. There's a pride in America of being Irish. I can't wait to come back and I want to visit the land of my ancestors and the castle that they had."