Culture Icon | Stephen Farrelly (aka "Sheamus")

Stephen Farrelly is known by several other names...Sheamus, Sheamus O'Shaunessy (S0S), the Celtic Warrior, the Irish Curse, and the Great White. That comes with the territory though when you are a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Farrelly has held many wrestling championships in Ireland and the US, including World Heavyweight Champion twice, and is huge fan favorite whenever he steps into the ring wherever he may be in the world.

What sets Farrelly apart from other sports entertainers is that he has an information technology degree and speaks fluent Gaelic. He also sang in choir until he was thirteen and was a star athlete in Irish football and rugby during his school and college years.

In addition to keeping up his championship wrestling, Farrelly has also recently taken on several causes. First, he joined other WWE stars and the Creative Coalition in the be a STAR project, an anti-bullying initiative that promotes tolerance and respect through education and awareness. Having been bullied as a child himself and later standing up against bullies for friends, the project is of personal importance to him. Farrelly is also a major advocate for education and particularly for young people to attend college. Finally, he is working hard to break stereotypes of Irish people and culture. For his stage persona he intentionally chose to stay away from kitchy Irish elements. Instead, he tapped into his background in Irish history, culture, and tradition to create a role model that would honor Celtic warriors and his own ancestry.

Below is a short video featuring the Muppets on bullying...

And an interview with Farrelli on The Late Late Show in which he talks about breaking Irish stereotypes...

The full interview (with some Gaelic and a cameo of Farrelly's choir boy days) can be found here.