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.
26
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.
6
Famous As: Playwright, Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: October 16, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: 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.

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 3 C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis.
4
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.

 4 Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen.
16
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States

One of the most celebrated actors of Hollywood, Martin Sheen has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes. Best known to fans as Captain Benjamin Willard from Apocalypse Now, he has also been involved in countless protests against nuclear power and strongly opposes abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia.

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 5 Bono

Bono.
5
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.

 6 Peter O'Toole

Peter O'Toole.
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 2, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Connemara
Died: December 14, 2013

Peter O'Toole was a British actor who became popular as a Shakespearean actor with the English Stage Company and at the Bristol Old Vic. O'Toole, who holds the record for receiving the most number of Oscar nominations for acting without a win, has appeared on several greatest actors list in England and Ireland.

 7 Rory Mcllroy

Rory Mcllroy.
0
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.
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 8 Michael Gambon

Michael Gambon.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cabra, Dublin

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.

 9 Graham Norton

Graham Norton.
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clondalkin

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 Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy.
16
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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 11 George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw.
0
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.

 12 Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender.
6
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.

 13 Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan.
7
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.

 14 Niall Horan

Niall Horan.
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mullingar, Republic of 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 James Joyce

James Joyce.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rathgar, Dublin
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.

 16 Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell.
8
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.

 17 Richard Harris

Richard Harris.
5
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.

 18 W B Yeats

W B Yeats.
2
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.

 19 Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 20 Robert Sheehan

Robert Sheehan.
7
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.

 21 Aidan Gillen

Aidan Gillen.
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin
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 Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson.
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of 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.

 23 Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett.
1
Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Theater Director
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.

 24 Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clondalkin, Republic of 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.

 25 Hozier

Hozier.
3
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: March 17, 1990
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bray, County Wicklow
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.

 26 Finn Balor

Finn Balor.
2
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: July 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bray, County Wicklow, Republic of 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.

 27 Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Drimnagh, Republic of 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.

 28 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh.
0
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.

 29 Roy Keane

Roy Keane
6
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: August 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cork

 30 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift.
4
Famous As: Novelist & Satirist
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.

 31 The Edge

The Edge.
0
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 8, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barking, London

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. 

 32 Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof.
2
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 5, 1951
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire
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 Jacksepticeye

Jacksepticeye.
2
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.

 34 Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott.
1
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.

 35 Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar.
3
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.

 36 Chris O'Dowd

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

 37 Sheamus

Sheamus.
2
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: January 28, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cabra, Dublin, Republic of 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.

 38 Michael Collins

Michael Collins.
2
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 Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne.
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walkinstown
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.

 40 Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker.
1
Famous As: Creator 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.

 41 Rory Gallagher

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

 42 Colin O’Donoghue

Colin O’Donoghue.
0
Famous As: Actor, Musician
Birthdate: January 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Drogheda, Republic of 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.

 43 Aphex Twin

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

 44 Stuart Townsend

Stuart Townsend.
0
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: December 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Howth, County Dublin, Ireland
Stuart Townsend is best known as Lestat de Lioncourt from Queen of the Damned and as Dorian Gray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He quit acting in 2015 and became a car garage owner in Costa Rica but later returned with the series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

 45 Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney.
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castledawson
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 Terry Wogan

Terry Wogan.
0
Famous As: Television presenter
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.

 47 Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands.
2
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newtownabbey
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.

 48 Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley
1
Famous As: Dancer
Birthdate: July 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

 49 Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr
2
Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Television presenter
Birthdate: September 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Jimmy Carr is one of the biggest selling live comedians of Britain. The award-winning performer is best known for shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and jokes about everything from politics to sex. He has gained fame for his signature deadpan delivery, his high-pitched laughter, and his dark humor.

 50 Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke.
2
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: January 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Died: July 9, 1797

Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was a member of parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Great Britain for several years. He supported  Catholic emancipation and strongly opposed the French Revolution. He felt revolution destroyed the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society. He is considered the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.