Untamed Irishman Aidan Turner is tall, Poldark and handsome

TV reviews are already raving about the new BBC TV series Poldark, a story of love, loss and separation from your motherland that speaks to the hearts of The Wild Geese® .

Irish history saw a nation exiled from it’s beloved homeland in 1691, when The Wild Geese® faced an unknown future. Unbroken, unbowed and determined, they were sent into darkness, believing that one day they would return.

BBC’s new TV drama Poldark echoes The Wild Geese® ’s trials. Set in In late 18th-century, the story follows Ross Poldark’s return to his Cornish tin mines after spending three years in the army to avoid charges of smuggling, leaving behind his beloved Elizabeth.

Greeted by a grim scenario at the time of his return: he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins and Elizabeth engaged to another man. Based on the Poldark novels by Winston Graham, BBC’s first Poldark series was a huge success back in 1975.  Now, Irish heartthrob Aidan Turner portrays Poldark as the show’s main man.

Born in Dublin in 1983, Aidan Turner graduated from The Gaiety School of Acting in 2004. He has already stolen viewers’ hearts as Poldark.

Aidan, on behalf of The Wild Geese® , we cannot wait to see you work your magic filling Poldark’s shoes like a true unbroken Irish hero would do. Your untamed charm and unbowed talent are already inspiring many other Irish actors to make their dreams happen.



Geese Symbolism

Geese have symbolised many things in cultures across the globe. To some they symbolise loyalty and courage and for others they represent determination and resilience.

When faced with leaving their home in 1691, the Irish soldiers lead by Patrick Sarsfield took the name The Wild Geese® , inspired by the migration patterns of their namesakes that return home even after traveling far and wide.

But what’s in a name? The Celts saw geese as a spirit that could not be tamed or captured. They recognised their resourcefulness, particularly their ability to survive and prosper in unfamiliar environments.

Native Americans believed geese flying high was an omen for good weather and if they flew south early, they could tell a severe winter was on its way.

Geese have also been known for their camaraderie. Flying in a V formation adds at least 71% greater flying range to their journeys. This gives the flock a bond unlike any other as they create an environment of support that ensures that no goose is left behind.

The Wild Geese® of 1691 also displayed this level of camaraderie, supporting each other far from home. But like their namesakes they kept their homeland close to their heart and dreamed of one day returning.

You can discover the full The Wild Geese® story here


Jamie Dornan


With Fifty Shades Of Grey soon to be unleashed in cinemas we take a closer look at the film’s star Jamie Dornan. A Man of Action through and through whose rise to fame shares parallels with the story of The Wild Geese®

Forced on a journey away from their beloved homeland in 1691, The Wild Geese® were faced with adversity and an unknown future. Unbroken by their voyage and determined to succeed, they ventured to establish new opportunities across the globe.

This story of The Wild Geese® is echoed in the career of Belfast-born heartthrob and award winning actor Jamie Dornan. With his sights set on acting stardom Jamie courageously left his suburban life behind, dropped out of University and enlisted at an acting school in London. 

During Jamie’s quest to become an established actor, he struggled to acquire his big break in his 20’s but like any Wild Geese soldier, refused to bow down to defeat. After a spate of modelling for the likes of GQ, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein, he felt he had even more to offer, so preserved in building his acting career.

He became know for his role in Marie Antoinette (2006) but got his first big break in 2011 as Sheriff Graham in hit TV show Once Upon A Time. Driven to push the boundaries of his acting skills Jamie soon became famed for his sinister starring role as serial killer Paul Spector in The Fall TV series. But ever the gent, word quickly got around that he often apologised to his co-stars after shooting brutal scenes.

Now in his early forties with a great acting portfolio under his belt, Jamie’s fierce Irish charm and Wild Geese charisma has made him an honourable choice for the lead role in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the fastest selling R-rated novel ever. It’s a safe bet that those who haven’t heard of him will soon know his name intimately.

His erotic role won’t be the last of Jamie’s onscreen appearances this year as he prepares for the release of The 9th Life of Louis Drax, in which he takes the starring role. His quest continues, we look forward to seeing it!

Jamie, on behalf of The Wild Geese® , we salute you for carrying the Irish legacy to succeed when faced with adversity. Your untamed charm and unbowed talent will go on to inspire many other Irish actors to make their dreams happen.

Daniel Day Lewis

On the shores of Limerick in 1691 stood The Wild Geese® . As they boarded ships bound for France, they knew they were heading into the unknown. Armed only with their skills, a new life lay ahead of them.

But they braved the storm, just as Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis has during his illustrious career.

The only actor to win three Oscars, four time BAFTA-winner and now a knighthood for his services to drama which he received last year. The 57 year old actor is at the height of his career. But Sir Daniel has had to fight to get there, using only his raw, untamed talents.

Daniel Day-Lewis is known for fighting for a role and once he’s won it is even more infamous for his method acting. This commitment to his parts has seen him living in a wheelchair (My Left Foot), training to be a butcher (Gangs of New York), staying in prison for two days with out food and water (In The Name Of The Father), hunting all his own food (Last Of The Mohicans) and often not breaking character for the entire shoot.

“I like things that make you grit your teeth,” he explained, “I like tucking my chin in and sort of leading into the storm”. He always embraces a challenge because it brings out the best of him, just as it was back in 1691 on the shores of Limerick.

But like The Wild Geese® , Sir Daniel enjoys the adventures but his heart is rooted at his home, Ireland. He has achieved what many of The Wild Geese® couldn’t and has returned to Ireland, settled in Co. Wicklow with a landscape he feels is “enriching”.

“I couldn’t work or get ready for a piece of work from a city base, from city life. I need deep, deep quiet and a landscape too that I can be absorbed into”. Ireland provides this landscape, which continues to beckon back today’s Wild Geese.




Leaving Ireland with little but the name they took, The Wild Geese® had to be determined and confident in their abilities to survive and succeed. This story continues today in the meteoric rise of Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor who shows the fighting, Untamed Wild Geese spirit.

“Passion is passion, whatever way it comes out,” McGregor describes when talking to Irish Central. For Conor this is in-ring fighting, which he took up from an early age.

Plagued by bullies when he was young, Conor showed a glimmer of that unique courage from The Wild Geese® in 1691. Faced with adversity, he didn’t flee but chose to fight. Unbowed, he started training at Crumlin Boxing Club in his native Dublin. He competed frequently in boxing matches before turning his focus to other disciplines like jiu-jitsu, karate and freestyle wrestling.

This passion grew and grew and today he is one of the top rising stars of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest mixed martial company in the world. Like The Wild Geese® , Conor turned adversity into success, letting his passion drive him.

He’s made a name for himself both inside and outside of the ring, gaining a reputation for talking big. But as he explains, this is more akin to the war drums The Wild Geese® beat before battle than misplaced arrogance.

“I feel that I am not just spouting stuff that isn’t true,” he describes, “I am saying it as it is and I am saying how I am going to beat my opponent and then I am going and doing it… I believe in my abilities, simple as that”

And like The Wild Geese® , Conor has found himself fighting away from home on many occasions, but on January 18th he’ll be returning to a home from home. In one of the biggest fights of his UFC career, he’ll meet Dennis Siver in Boston, USA, which he’s really hyped about. “This is Irish America,” Conor acknowledges, “I feel like I am fighting at home”.

Having a home crowd behind him will help. Conor has been turning his featherweight division on its head for some time now. A win this month could put him in contention for a shot at the UFC-145 title belt. One to watch in 2015, Conor is one of today’s unbroken Wild Geese.

MEN OF ACTION: Rebel With A Cause

In the rush of the Christmas season it can be difficult to see past wrapping presents and decorating the tree, but for Bob Geldof this has always been a time to look beyond such commercialism.

In 1984 Bob Geldof revolutionised the Christmas single by mobilising famous music artists of the day to perform ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ to raise money to help sufferers of famine in Ethiopia. Today, 30 years on, Band Aid has reshaped to tackle a new cause: the Ebola crisis crippling populations across Africa.

Bob Geldof was born in Dun Laoghaire, a port town in Co. Dublin. By his own admission, he “came from a poor Irish, not particularly well educated background”, which has driven his empathetic view of the world. After leaving Ireland, The Wild Geese® have always become global citizens, fighting for causes far from home, but always remembering where they came from: Geldof embodies this.

It’s no wonder that when he had a platform to campaign on, following a succession of hits, that he started working tirelessly to aid charity. However, it’s clear he’s kept his rock n’ roll attitude and his Untamed, no nonsense approach to changing the world. Geldof was recently described by the UK’s MailOnline as “astute, distrustful of authority, compassionate, complex, intense, occasionally obnoxious, curiously sensitive”. A rebel with a cause, just like the original Wild Geese in 1691.

He has towed the line between troublemaker and guardian. Fellow activist Angelina Jolie has said: “I think what Bob Geldof does comes from his heart and he’s a wonderful, wonderful man”.

Today ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ has already reached number one and outperformed its 1984 counterpart, selling over 312,000 within its first week.

Geldof’s work with Band Aid is a true picture of the courageous The Wild Geese® spirit.

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MEN OF ACTION: The (Irish) Descendants

There are many faces to The Wild Geese® today, and for those who didn’t know one of them is the superstar George Clooney. Movie star and activist, Clooney displays the spirit of The Wild Geese® , which comes from his ancestral home of Ireland. New information has revealed the circumstances under which George Clooney’s great-grandfather left Ireland in the 1850s. Through adversity he remained Unbroken, and charted a new legacy in the USA.

Leaving Ireland has never been easy for Wild Geese. In 1691 The Wild Geese® , lead by Patrick Sarsfield, chose to seize their destines abroad, but for other Irish emigrants this was forced upon them.

One of these was Nicholas Clooney, George’s great-grandfather. The movie star’s ancestry goes all the way back to Windgap, Co. Kilkenny, where Nicholas worked as a farmer in the 1840s. Nicholas was from a humble background, and worked off the land, before ‘middlemen’ arrived in Ireland, looking to amalgamate small holdings, like the Clooney’s, into bigger farms.

This was rarely a fair process and the farmers were often coerced, sometimes violently, to leave their land. Nicholas was forced out, his livelihood stripped from him. But Unbroken, Nicholas picked himself up and looked towards the opportunities in the USA. As a skilled worker, he had a lot to offer the United States.

Like The Wild Geese® before him, Nicholas called on an unprecedented courage. We imagine that as he boarded the ship to the New World, he was filled with exhilaration and even though his heart would remain in Ireland, he was staking huge steps towards building a legacy the world would see.

New records, discovered by www.findmypast.ie, show that George’s great Granddaddy left Ireland in 1852, settling in Kentucky. He worked hard and applied himself, integrating into his new community. Over one hundred years later, one of the biggest star in American was born. Today the name Clooney is famous around the world.

At The Wild Geese® we have a saying that proves the reach of the Irish in all parts of the world:

“Wherever you are in the world, if you are of Irish descent you are part of this story and entitled to call yourself Wild Geese”

No matter where they are, their links to Ireland are unbreakable, and have been built by courageous individuals like George’s Pops Nicholas Clooney.

As a man true to his heritage, George and his family are still in contact with cousins back in Ireland. He’s been back to Ireland to explore and sip some Irish whiskeys in Dublin and is planning a motorbike tour of the country, once his work and new marriage has settled down!

But he’s very familiar with the warm welcome home he’ll receive. “My dad went to Ireland,” he described, “and when he told them his name, he said everyone insisted on buying him drinks and he got smashed and had a great time!”

Interestingly, Clooney is an anglicised version of the Gaelic ‘Clughnach’, which means rouge or flatterer. Spot on then!


MEN OF ACTION: Star Quality From The Wild Geese®

Irish chef Andy McFadden was London’s youngest Michelin star chef for three years, rising through the ranks from humble beginnings to unrivalled success, echoing the story of The Wild Geese®

Innovation is a trait Wild Geese excel at. When they first left Ireland in 1691, bound for foreign shores and armed only with their wits, The Wild Geese® forged their own destinies and contributed greatly to their host communities.

Like so many threads in the story of The Wild Geese® , innovation has been displayed by The Wild Geese® throughout time. One example of this recipe for success is Irish chef Andy McFadden, who moved to London from Tallaght, Ireland, following his passion for creating exquisite food.

Andy started working in kitchens when he was 14, drawn to the fusion of creativity and hard graft. He quickly became disillusioned with the processes in front of him while working in a pub in Tallaght, shocked at the methods used to make sauces and the number of foods bought frozen, he sought an environment that suited his ambition to create high quality dishes.

This brought him to Nevan Maguire’s MacNean House, where he combined passion and enthusiasm with his creativity and hard work. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be a chef”, he remembers.

Like the journey of the original The Wild Geese® , it wasn’t always plain sailing. While earning his stripes in various restaurants, absorbing as much experience as he could, he found himself in situations that nearly broke him. The ruthless kitchen culture was hard to bear. “It scared the hell out of me,” Andy admitted, “it was boisterous. It was hard core. I thought maybe it was too much”.

On top of this, he was far from home and far from family, a familiar line in The Wild Geese® story. Battling a relentless industry with a shrinking network, would be easy to throw in the towel for some, but this is where The Wild Geese® have always shone, refusing to quit and continuing to chase their dreams with a unique hunger.

And so Andy treated this as a settling period, one where he was still finding his feet. Eventually Andy became head chef at London’s L’Autre Pied in 2007. It already held a Michelin star, and his first task was to hold on to that. Unbowed by the stress levels he kept the star, becoming the youngest Michelin star chef in London, a title he held for three years!


Today he’s been called a poet in the kitchen, continuing to innovate not only food on the plate, but also his approach to the role of head chef, empathising with up-and-coming young chef’s while remaining a firm leader.


Discover Andy’s star quality for yourself at L’Autre Pied:




Men of Action: Remembering Irish Soldiers

Topham Picturepoint Press Association Images
Topham Picturepoint Press Association Images


The tales of Irish soldiers have never been forgotten. Today the world paused to remember the brave soldiers who fought during the two World Wars. We join them in remembering the Irish soldiers who fought during these wars.

It is thought that thousands of soldiers left Ireland to fight in the British army during the Second World War. Even though Ireland remained a neutral force during the war, these brave men and women crossed seas to fight for a cause they believed in. From the airforce to the D-Day landings, these soldiers followed in The Wild Geese® footsteps and fought for freedom.

While some paid the ultimate price in this fight, other returned home where they would not find the heroes welcome they deserved. Labelled as ‘deserters’ of the Irish army by the government, these soldiers were barred from state jobs and refused military pensions. Many families were ostracised, like Paddy Reid, whose father left to fight with the Allies:

‘It took all those years to find work and when he did, he never missed a day in his life,’ Explains Reid. It was also a difficult life for him as teachers at school weren’t afraid to let him know that he didn’t belong.

However, this all changed earlier this year when the Irish government pardoned the deserters, apologising for their treatment and acknowledging their brave actions. Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter announced an Amnesty and Immunity Bill in May, promising to remove ‘any tarnish from the names and reputations’ of these Irish soldiers. The bill recognised that ‘had Germany successfully invaded Great Britain, Ireland was next on the list. These individuals made a substantial contribution to protect the sovereignty of this country’.

For people like Paddy Reid, this was welcome news and has given them a fresh opportunity to honour the soldiers during this year’s Remembrance ceremonies.

‘Now there’s a great sense of vindication,’ outlined Reid, ‘Those soldiers did what they did and fought with bravery. They should be remembered for that’.

Private Joseph Mullaly was another soldier who fought in the Second World War. He died in the D-Day landings, an operation that helped turn the tide of the war in Europe. This goes to show the ultimate sacrifice that many of these soldiers made and the vital role they played, fighting for a cause they believed in.

Private Mullaly died in June 1944, and to mark the contribution he and all the other Irish soldiers made to the war effort, a memorial ceremony was held at Enniskillen, Co. Farmaragh in June this. Two wreaths were also taken to the UK and laid at the war memorials during the weekend’s Remembrance ceremonies.

Men of Action: Ireland Triumph At Six Nations

Brian O’Driscoll lifting the Six Nations trophy after Ireland’s win in 2009 (Photo by Arun Marsh via Flickr Creative Commons)

Last weekend was a big one for the Irish. Ireland’s big win of the RBS Six Nations tournament kick-started the St Patrick’s Day celebrations!

But this was a hard fought victory. Ireland headed into their final game needing a win against France. Only a win would ensure the team was clutching the trophy come St Patrick’s Day.

After a strong performance from France in the first quarter, Ireland fought back to crush this early lead. Jonathan Sexton scored two tries and the team continued to fight off a French retaliation. In the end Ireland secured their second Six Nations victory, beating France 22-20!

This was Brian O’Driscoll’s last international game, and what a fairytale ending for him.

‘It is great to finish my career on a high,’ O’Driscoll said. ‘When I do hang this jersey up on the hook inside it will be with fond memories’.

‘The emotions are starting to kick in now. It feels great to be a two-time Six Nations winner’.

In 2009 Brian O’Driscoll captained Ireland to win the Six Nations and a second victory is long deserved.

‘It’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve played a long time for Ireland and to only have won one Six Nations championship would have been disappointing so I’m really delighted for this group of players, for how talented they are, how hard they worked’.

Now is the time that the emotions will flow. The team was welcomed back to a huge crowd in Dublin, with the win marking one of the best starts to St Patrick’s Day in recent years. For the Ireland team and many of the fans, the victory will be bittersweet following O’Driscoll’s retirement from international games.

St Patrick’s Day 2014: Meeting Today’s Wild Geese

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day we’ve met some of today’s Wild Geese, who have reflected on what it means to be Irish abroad.

In 1691 Patrick Sarsfield and his followers left Ireland. They took the name ‘The Wild Geese® ‘ in the hope and belief that they would one day return. Although many did not see Ireland again, they kept Ireland in their hearts while they achieved extraordinary feats in their host communities.

This story continues today with Wild Geese still making valuable contributions while living and working away from Ireland. Full of ambition and determination, their Untamed Irish spirit shine through.

Meet some today’s Wild Geese in London! Cormac Redmond, Ian McKeown, Vashit Curran and Mick Kelly who work at the famous Waxy O’Connor’s and Karen Houlihan and Robert Murray from the stylish Bentley Oyster Bar & Grill, who were good enough to share their own stories with us.

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Wild Geese: Thanks to Vashti Curran, Cormac Redmond, Ian McKeown, Mick Kelly, Karen Houlihan and Robert Murray (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Vashti Curran, Cormac Redmond, Ian McKeown, Mick Kelly, Karen Houlihan and Robert Murray (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Vashti Curran, Karen Houlihan, Robert Murray, and Cormac Redmond (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Vashti Curran, Karen Houlihan, Robert Murray, and Cormac Redmond (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Robert Murray, Karen Houlihan, Cormac Redmond, Vashti Curran and Ian McKeown (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Robert Murray, Karen Houlihan, Cormac Redmond, Vashti Curran and Ian McKeown (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Cormac Redmond, Ian McKeown, Karen Houlihan, Vashti Curran and Robert Murray (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Cormac Redmond, Ian McKeown, Karen Houlihan, Vashti Curran and Robert Murray (Clockwise from top left)
Wild Geese: Thanks to Waxy O'Connor's and Bentley Oyster Bar for taking part!
Wild Geese: Thanks to Waxy O’Connor’s and Bentley Oyster Bar for taking part!