For many people, the thought of Ireland conjures up images of rolling emerald hills and quaint country folk with thick brogues popping down to the pub for a pint.

Or maybe just leprechauns and Shamrock Shakes.

Truth is, Ireland has given the world many great things. After all, the millions of Irish people who migrated to America in the midst of the Great Potato Famine in the mid-1800s help build this nation up into what it is today.

St. Patrick's Day is more than just a time to hoist a glass of beer tinted with green food coloring and think about how Ireland has no snakes thanks to, allegedly, St. Patty; it's also a day to celebrate everything Irish.

In that spirit, let's count down the five greatest things modern Ireland has exported to America.

Liam Neeson in Taken

No. 5: Irish actors

Where would Hollywood be without the likes of Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell or relative newcomers Michael Fassbender ("Inglorious Basterds" and "X-Men: First Class") and Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement" and "The Lovely Bones")?

A lot less entertaining, that's what.

Without Ireland's Pierce Brosnan, who would have bridged the Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig eras of James Bond? Without Northern Ireland's Neeson, who would have calmly but menacingly described of his "particular set of skills" in "Taken"? Heck, without Ireland we wouldn't have had "Lawrence of Arabia" (thanks, Peter O'Toole).

OK, so we would have had those movies, likely with somebody else filling the roles. But Hollywood and its audiences would have been worse off for it.

And don't even get us started on Roma Downey. We don't even want to imagine a world without "Touched by an Angel."

Claddagh ring, Irish wedding band

No. 4: Claddagh rings

The Claddagh: It's not just for the Irish any more.

That might as well be the motto for the symbol consisting of a crowned heart grasped between two hands. Walk into any Irish gift shop in any mall in America, and it'll be hard to miss.

More than 300 years after the ring's origins in a small Irish fishing village just outside of Galway, it's worn far and wide as a symbol of love, friendship and loyalty.

But the ring is more than just a history-rich beautiful piece of jewelry, it's also functional. Worn on the right hand with the heart facing out means you're looking for love. Wear it on the same hand but facing inward, and your heart has been "captured."

How romantic is that?

No wonder Hollywood has latched onto the ring as shorthand for romance, with the Claddagh popping up in movies such as "Leap Year" and TV shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Bono of U2 with American flag in jacket

No. 3: Irish musicians

Everybody knows about U2, and rightfully so.

Although only two members (Bono and drummer Larry Mullen Jr.) of the quintessential Irish rock group actually hale from the Emerald Isle, the band will forever be associated with Ireland.

But the country has given the world many other great musical acts.