Famous Irish Men

If there is one thing that ties all Irish men together besides their gift of gab and love for Irish beers, it is their ingenuity and their incredible ability to do all things great. Ask an Irish about his country's resourcefulness and he would happily rattle off a long list of Celtic creations like the pedal-powered wheel chair or the solar-powered flashlight. While these Irish invention might sound funny to many, there is little denying or doubting the ingenuity of the sons of Erin who have immeasurably contributed to our lives in unfathomable ways. From Joseph Murphy's flavored potato chips to Robert Percival's soda water and from John Phillip Holland's submarine to Arthur Guinness ales, the world indeed has a lot to be thankful for to the Irish. Then there is this distinguished lot of heralded scribes like Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce and Sir George Bernard Shaw who gave Ireland a remarkable identity in the world of literature. With so much to know and explore about the Irish, let us dig deep into the lives of famous Irish men and read their biographies, timeline, trivia, and interesting facts.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor
44
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: July 14, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland

The highest paid fighter of Ultimate Fighting Championship, Conor McGregor is one of the most famous athletes in the world. His ascent from humble beginnings to becoming ‘The Notorious’ has been fuelled by McGregor’s mastery of martial arts, skilful fighting style and powerful punches. He is the first fighter to hold both UFC Featherweight Championship and UFC Lightweight Championship simultaneously.

 2 Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde
21
Famous As: Poet, Playwright
Birthdate: October 16, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1900

Widely regarded as one of the most popular writers of all time, Oscar Wilde is best remembered for his plays and epigrams. He was also one of the best-known personalities during his time as he was popular for his conversational skills, flamboyant dressing sense, and biting wit. Imprisoned in 1895 for consensual homosexual acts, Oscar Wilde was pardoned posthumously in 2017.

 3 C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis
10
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
Died: November 22, 1963

C. S. Lewis was a British writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide after having been translated into over 30 languages. His works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, have inspired the works of other famous authors. Lewis' work continues to attract readership and he was ranked 11th on The Times' 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list.

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 4 Bono

Bono
10
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
U2 frontman Bono he has earned more than 20 Grammys and has been named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with the band. An avid philanthropist, he has also been associated with projects such as the ONE Campaign and Product Red, to aid countries such as Africa.
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 5 Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis
23
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

Retired English actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, is widely regarded as one of the best cinema actors. Known for his dedication to method acting, he has entertained audience with both positive and negative roles. His work in movies like My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln and Gangs of New York have won him fame, critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards.

 6 Rory Mcllroy

Rory Mcllroy
6
Famous As: Golfer
Birthdate: May 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Holywood
Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy competes as part of both the European and PGA Tours. He won four major titles by 25, becoming one of three people to achieve the feat. Rory was named the RTÉ Sports Person of the Year twice and has won the World Cup, too.

 7 Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
34
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Douglas, Ireland

Cillian Murphy is a successful Irish actor. Some of his notable films are Intermission, Red Eye, Inception, Misterman, Dunkirk and Anna and The Dark Knight Trilogy. He’s also acted in television series like the Peaky Blinders. It’s said that he does not have a stylist or a personal publicist and he often travels without an entourage. He is also a musician.

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 8 Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender
14
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany

Michael Fassbender is a critically-acclaimed Irish-German actor best known for playing a sex addict in the psychological erotic drama film Shame. Apart from being an actor, Michael is also a well-known racing driver; he started his auto racing career in 2017 and currently races for Proton Competition in the European Le Mans Series.

 9 Graham Norton

Graham Norton
10
Famous As: Actor, Talk show Host
Birthdate: April 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clondalkin, Ireland

Irish television and radio presenter, comedian, and actor, Graham Norton, is an eight-time BAFTA TV Award winner. He is best known for his comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show. His innuendo-laden dialogue and flamboyant presentation style have made him a fan favorite. He is openly gay and is the winner of one Gaytime Award.

 10 George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw
9
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 26, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Portobello, Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 2, 1950

Nobel Prize-winning playwright and author George Bernard Shaw was best known for his realism and his support for women’s rights and socialism. His ideas gave rise to the word “Shavian.” His drama Pygmalion inspired the musical My Fair Lady. His other notable works include Candida and Man and Superman.

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 11 Michael Gambon

Michael Gambon
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cabra, Ireland

Actor Michael Gambon is best known for playing Albus Dumbledore in the popular Harry Potter movie series. Not surprisingly, Gambon is one of the most recognized faces in the world and a favorite actor among Harry Potter fans. Ranked 28th in Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times, Gambon was knighted for hisservices to drama, in 1998.

 12 Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan
16
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Drogheda, Ireland

Irish-American actor and film producer Pierce Brosnan is best known for playing secret agent James Bond in the Bond film series. As a young man, he trained at the Drama Centre London and made his acting debut soon after. First gaining fame as a TV actor, he didn’t take long to enter films as well.

 13 Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 31, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Castleknock, Ireland

Colin Farrell is one of the most popular and celebrated Irish actors. He was ranked fifth in The Irish Times newspaper's Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020. Known for his casanova image, Colin has also had drug addiction problems and suffers from insomnia. In 2006, he filed a lawsuit against Nicole Narain for releasing their 13-minute sex tape.

 14 Niall Horan

Niall Horan
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mullingar, Ireland
Niall Horan performed as part of the boyband One Direction, formed on The X Factor, till it went on a hiatus. He then launched his solo career with the album Flicker and hits such as This Town. He has marched for the BLM movement and has supported UNICEF's Soccer Aid.

 15 Richard Harris

Richard Harris
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: October 25, 2002

A multitalented personality, Richard Harris was an Irish actor, singer, director and writer. He began as a stage actor and later moved to films. His famous films include This Sporting Life, Camelot, A Man Called Horse, Gladiator and the first two Harry Potter films. He released numerous musical albums, published a poetry book and ventured into film direction with Bloomfield.

 16 James Joyce

James Joyce
4
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Short Story writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rathgar, Ireland
Died: January 13, 1941

James Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, teacher, short story writer, and literary critic. Widely considered one of the 20th century's most important and influential writers, James Joyce contributed immensely to the modernist avant-garde movement. Joyce's work has influenced several scholars and writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Flann O'Brien, John Updike, and Cormac McCarthy.

 17 Roy Keane

Roy Keane
9
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: August 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cork

 18 Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 19 Robert Sheehan

Robert Sheehan
10
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 7, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portlaoise, Ireland

An Irish actor who is counted among the country’s greatest actors, Robert Sheehan has received multiple Irish Film and Television Award and BAFTA Award nominations. Interested in performing from a young age, he studied film and television before beginning his career. He is known for questioning gender norms in the acting industry.

 20 W B Yeats

W B Yeats
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 13, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sandymount, Ireland
Died: January 28, 1939
Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, playwright, and prose writer W. B. Yeats is remembered as one of the most significant literary figures of the 20th century. Known for works such as The Tower, he also helped establish the Abbey Theatre. An occult enthusiast, he was also part of The Ghost Club.

 21 Aidan Gillen

Aidan Gillen
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Aidan Gillen is best known as Petyr Baelish from the iconic series Game of Thrones and as Tommy Carcetti from The Wire. He has also appeared in Project Blue Book, Peaky Blinders, and the Maze Runner movies. A talented theater actor, he has earned a Drama Desk Award nomination, too.

 22 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
5
Famous As: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834)
Birthdate: May 1, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 14, 1852
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, served as the British prime minister twice. He also served as the governor of Seringapatam and Mysore, and won the Battle of Assaye. He led the Hundred Days War and along with the Prussian army, won the Battle of Waterloo, defeating Napoleon.

 23 Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson
8
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: November 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

One of the most talented Irish film actors of all time, Brendan Gleeson gained international attention after playing Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter movie series. He was ranked 18th in The Irish Times' Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020. Brendan Gleeson is also credited with inspiring his sons Domhnall and Brian Gleeson to become actors.

 24 Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett
1
Famous As: Novelist, Playwright
Birthdate: April 13, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Foxrock, Ireland
Died: December 22, 1989

Samuel Beckett was a legendary Nobel Prize-winning Irish postmodernist and minimalist playwright and author, regarded as a prominent figure of the "Theatre of the Absurd.” He is best known for the play Waiting for Godot and for his tragi-comic themes and black comedy. He was also the Saoi of Aosdána.

 25 Finn Balor

Finn Balor
4
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: July 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bray, Ireland

Irish wrestler Fergal Devitt performs as Finn Bálor for the NXT brand under WWE. He has won titles such as the NXT Championship, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Also known as Prince Devitt, he co-founded NWA Ireland, his own promotion.

 26 Hozier

Hozier
5
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 17, 1990
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bray, Ireland
Irish blues/rock singer Hozier is best known for his track Take Me to Church, which became a Billboard Hot 100-charter and rocked the charts of several other countries apart from Ireland, such as Belgium and Canada. His songs exhibit religious imagery. He was previously part of the choral group Anúna.

 27 Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clondalkin, Ireland
Aidan Turner is best known as Ross Poldark from the series Poldark and Kili from The Hobbit movie franchise. He has also played English poet Dante in Desperate Romantics. A skilled stage artist, he has also made waves in the Dublin theater scene, appearing in plays such as Titus Andronicus.

 28 Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Drimnagh, Dublin, Ireland
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is best known for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of Elvis Presley in the miniseries Elvis. Fans also loved him as King Henry VIII in The Tudors and as the titular character in Dracula. The Irish Post Legend Award-winner has worked with Hope Foundation and endorsed Hugo Boss.

 29 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift
6
Famous As: Satirist & Essayist
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 30 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh
1
Famous As: Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camberwell

The director and writer of the Academy Award-winning short film, Six Shooter, Martin McDonagh is also well known as a playwright and stage director. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is one of the his noted works. The crime drama film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was another successful venture of McDonagh. He says he prefers films to plays.

 31 Chris O'Dowd

Chris O'Dowd
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland

 32 Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof
6
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland
Irish singer Bob Geldof gained fame as part of the rock band Boomtown Rats, which delivered hits such as Rat Trap. He formed the charity supergroup Band Aid and organized concerts to eradicate poverty in Africa. He also appeared as Pink in the movie Pink Floyd – The Wall.

 33 The Edge

The Edge
3
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barking, London, England

David Howell Evans, better known as The Edge, is a musician and songwriter. He first gained fame as the keyboardist, lead guitarist, and backing vocalist of the rock band U2. He is known for his signature style of guitar playing. Besides music, he is an advocate for human rights and is involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors. 

 34 Jacksepticeye

Jacksepticeye
5
Famous As: YouTuber, Producer, Game Commentator, Social Media Personality
Birthdate: February 7, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Athlone, Ireland

Irish YouTuber, Jacksepticeye, has gained massive online fame with his vlogs and comedic Let's Play series. His channel was the most-subscribed Irish channel as of December 2020. He began his YouTube career by posting gameplay videos and gained millions of subscribers within a few years. He is a philanthropist and often raises money for charitable causes.

 35 Sheamus

Sheamus
4
Famous As: Professional wrestler
Birthdate: January 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cabra, Ireland
Irish wrestler Stephen Farrelly, better known as “Sheamus,” performs for Raw, under WWE. He is a four-time world champion and the first Irish WWE champion. He has won five tag-team championships with his partner Cesaro. He has also appeared in movies such as The Buddy Games and The Escapist.

 36 Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England
Died: January 4, 1986
Phil Lynott was the frontman of the rock band Thin Lizzy, which delivered hits such as Whiskey in the Jar and Jailbreak. After the group disbanded, Phil had a successful solo career, published two poetry books, and led the band Grand Slam. He struggled with heroin addiction throughout his life.

 37 Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne
1
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walkinstown, Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Gabriel Byrne is best known for his Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated role of Dr. Paul Weston in the series In Treatment. He has also been part of movies such as Stigmata and End of Days. He is also a seasoned theater actor and has narrated several audiobooks.

 38 Michael Collins

Michael Collins
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: County Cork, Republic of Ireland
Died: August 22, 1922
Revolutionary leader Michael Collins was a significant figure in the Irish struggle for independence. He was the director of intelligence of the Irish army and was responsible for attacks such as the "Bloody Sunday" killings of British agents. He negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty but was assassinated by anti-Treaty rebels.

 39 Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan
1
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: December 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pembury, Kent, England

Shane MacGowan is an Irish-English recording artist and vocalist. He is credited with co-founding popular bands, such as The Pogues and Shane MacGowan and the Popes. He is also known for his collaboration with artists like Sinéad O'Connor, Kirsty MacColl, and Nick Cave. In 2018, he was honored with the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award for creating inspiring music. 

 40 Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar
5
Famous As: Teachta Dála
Birthdate: January 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Leo Varadkar is the Tánaiste, or deputy head, of Ireland. He has previously been the defense minister, the health minister, and the Fine Gael leader. Named to Time 100, he became the first openly gay Irish government head and the first Taoiseach, or Irish prime minister, of Indian origin.

 41 Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker
2
Famous As: Author of Dracula
Birthdate: November 8, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Died: April 20, 1912
Irish author Bram Stoker wrote the iconic Gothic novel Dracula, which has inspired scores of movies over the years. The Victorian-era author also served as the personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and managed the Lyceum Theatre, which was owned by Irving. He had also written many short stories.

 42 Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher
1
Famous As: Multi-instrumentalist
Birthdate: March 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ballyshannon, Ireland
Died: June 14, 1995

 43 Colin O’Donoghue

Colin O’Donoghue
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Drogheda, Ireland

Identified as the “Best New Talent” of Ireland at the age of 23, Colin Arthur O'Donoghue attracted the attention of TV viewers with his performance in the TV show Once Upon a Time aired on ABC network and went on to star in the movie, The Rite, and Netflix series, Heartstrings. The actor and musician was also a member of the Irish band The Enemies.

 44 Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin
0
Famous As: Electronic musician
Birthdate: August 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Limerick

 45 Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney
1
Famous As: Honored with Nobel Prize in Literature in the 1995
Birthdate: April 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castledawson, Northern Ireland
Died: August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney was an Irish poet, translator, and playwright. One of the most respected poets of his generation, Heaney was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He also won other prestigious awards, such as the Eric Gregory Award. Several years after his death, Seamus Heaney is still considered one of the main contributors to poetry in Ireland.

 46 Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands
3
Famous As: Member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died: May 5, 1981

Robert Gerard Sands, better known as Bobby Sands, was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, who died during a 1981 hunger strike, along with nine other strikers, protesting against the removal of Special Category Status from IRA prisoners. He had helped plot the 1976 Balmoral Furniture Company bombing.

 47 Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 19, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States
Died: January 13, 2009

 48 Ciarán Hinds

Ciarán Hinds
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ciarán Hinds is an Irish actor who is popular for playing villainous roles, Ciarán Hinds has contributed immensely across all three major acting mediums: films, television and theatre. In 2020, Ciarán Hinds was ranked 31st on The Irish Times newspaper's Ireland's greatest film actors list.

 49 Terry Wogan

Terry Wogan
0
Famous As: Radio and Television broadcaster
Birthdate: August 3, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 31, 2016

Irish radio and TV broadcaster, Terry Wogan, is remembered for his long career with BBC. For over 15 years, his weekday breakfast program, Wake Up to Wogan, drew in millions of listeners. At the peak of his career, he was probably the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe.  He was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame in 2009.

 50 Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Colm Meaney is an actor known for portraying Miles O'Brien in TV series, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also known for his significant film career, Meaney received the Best Actor IFTA for playing Martin McGuinness in The Journey. Meaney was named in The Irish Times' Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020.