Famous Irish Women

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Enough of Irish men! It is time to shift the spotlight to their lesser-talked but equally worthy counterpart, the Irish women. Sharp, witty, feisty, fierce, and industrious, Irish women have always been somewhat of a mystery for the world. They have wooed, wowed, and inspired a generation of womankind with their sheer guts and accomplishments. Be it Hollywood, Human Rights, hospice or humanitarianism, Irish women have rocked it all and how? Now only if you thought that Ryan Gosling, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Lawrence were the only famous Irish women the world could count, you are in for a huge, huge surprise. Killer looks aside, Irish beauties like Queen Medb of Connaught, Countess Markievicz, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, Mary Robinson, Mary Raftery, Lady Gregory, and Christina Noble are just some other influential Irish women who have impacted Ireland and the world at large in unthinkable ways. Read on to discover and get inspired by the lives and feats of many such Irish women in their biographies below that covers their timeline, trivia, and lesser-known facts with utmost honesty.
Vote for Your Favourite Irish Women
 1 
Angela Lansbury
(Actress and Singer Whose Career Spanned Over 80 Years)
Angela Lansbury
57
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

Angela Lansbury played a key role in shaping the Golden Age of Hollywood. Recognized as one of the few stars still alive from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, Angela Lansbury has received accolades, such as an Honorary Oscar. In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

 2 
Saoirse Ronan
(American-Born Irish Actress Known for Her Work in Period Dramas)
Saoirse Ronan
51
Birthdate: April 12, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Saoirse Ronan is noted for her roles in period dramas since she was in her teens. Her breakthrough came when in 2007 she played a precocious teenager in the film Atonement. Since then she has acted in several successful movies. She’s also a stage artist and was featured by Forbes in two of their 30 Under 30 lists in 2016.

 3 
Becky Lynch
(One of WWE's Most Recognizable and Highest-Paid Wrestlers)
Becky Lynch
20
Birthdate: January 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Becky Lynch is a four-time WWE champion and was named sixth on Twitter’s 2019 Top Female Athletes Worldwide list. She initially wrestled as "Rebecca Knox", teaming up with her brother. She became the only woman to hold both the Raw Women's Championship and the SmackDown Women's Championship simultaneously.
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 4 
Dolores O'Riordan
(Lead Vocalist and Lyricist for the Alternative Rock Band ‘The Cranberries')
Dolores O'Riordan
22
Birthdate: September 6, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ballybricken, County Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 15, 2018

Dolores O'Riordan went from being a church singer to becoming the lead vocalist of the Irish alternative rock band The Cranberries and a rock icon of the 1990s. She stunned her fans with her death as a result of accidental drowning due to intoxication at age 46.

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 5 
Katherine Ryan
(Comedian, Best Known for her Stand-up Specials)
Katherine Ryan
10
Birthdate: June 30, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan initially worked at a restaurant to support her education and then stepped into open mic and comedy nights. She has performed across Canada and the UK and even at the LA-based Comedy Store. Now an actor, too, she is also a 2-time skin cancer survivor.

 6 
Maureen O’Hara
14
Birthdate: August 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 24, 2015

Maureen O'Hara was an Irish singer and actress. Dubbed The Queen of Technicolor due to her long and successful career throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Maureen O'Hara was popular for playing passionate, but sensible characters. In 2014, she received an Honorary Academy Award. In 2020, she was ranked first on Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times.

 7 
Enya
(Irish Singer and Musician Known for Pioneering Modern 'Celtic' and 'New-Age' Music)
Enya
11
Birthdate: May 17, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland

Known for her unique blend of Celtic and folk tunes, Irish singer Enya has been dubbed the Queen of New Age. The Academy Award-nominated singer is also a 4-time Grammy winner and soared to fame with tracks such as Only Time and Orinoco Flow. She is the best-selling Irish solo artist ever.

 8 
Evanna Lynch
(Best Known for Her Role of 'Luna Lovegood' in the 'Harry Potter' Film Series)
Evanna Lynch
23
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Termonfeckin, Ireland
Evanna Lynch is best known as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Harry Potter-themed video games, and the musical A Very Potter Senior Year. An avid animal rights activist, she has launched a vegan-themed podcast titled The ChickPeeps and a cruelty-free make-up box named Kinder Beauty Box.
 9 
Katie McGrath
(Irish Actress Known for Her TV Series: 'Merlin', 'Dracula' and 'Supergirl')
Katie McGrath
12
Birthdate: February 21, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ashford, Ireland

Katie McGrath is an Irish actress known for playing important roles in popular TV series like Merlin, Dracula, Supergirl, and Frontier. Her journey from being a wardrobe assistant on the set of a television series titled The Tudors to becoming an actress after being advised to try her hand at acting is quite inspirational.

 10 
Jessie Buckley
(Irish Actress and Singer Known for Her Films: ‘Beast’, ‘Wild Rose’ and ‘The Lost Daughter’)
Jessie Buckley
17
Birthdate: December 28, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Killarney, Ireland

One of the most popular actresses from Ireland, Jessie Buckley was ranked 38th on Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times in 2020. Also known for her singing abilities, Jessie Buckley is a member of the Tipperary Millennium Orchestra. She can also play the piano, clarinet, and harp.

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 11 
Ruth Negga
(Irish Actress Known for Her Portrayal of 'Mildred Loving' in the Movie 'Loving')
Ruth Negga
19
Birthdate: January 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Born to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father, Ruth Negga didn’t look back after grabbing a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for the Best Newcomer, with her performance in the play Duck. She also played both Ophelia and Prince Hamlet in two different productions of the play.

 12 
Aisling Bea
(Irish Comedian and Actress Known for Her Comedy Series 'This Way Up')
Aisling Bea
9
Birthdate: March 16, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kildare, Ireland

Aisling Bea is an Irish actor, screenwriter, and comedian who has been serving as a team captain on the popular British comedy panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats since 2016. Apart from being a comedian and actor, Aisling Bea is also an activist; she campaigned successfully for the introduction of legal abortion and same-sex marriage legislation in Ireland.

 13 
Anne Bonny
(Pirate)
Anne Bonny
12
Birthdate: March 8, 1697
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: March 31, 1721

Irish pirate Anne Bonny is considered one of the most famous female pirates of all time. She operated in the Caribbean in the early 18th century. As a teenager, she became the partner and lover of the notorious English pirate captain Calico Jack Rackham. She was captured in 1720 when she was pregnant. Her fate remains unknown. 

 14 
Yvonne McGuinness
(Irish Visual Artist)
Yvonne McGuinness
18
Birthdate: October 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilkenny, Ireland
Irish visual artist Yvonne McGuinness is renowned for her video installations and prints. Most of her art works revolve around themes of conflict between revealing and hiding one’s true self. She has also made several short films, such as Charlie's Place. She is married to Irish actor Cillian Murphy.
 15 
Stella Maxwell
22
Birthdate: May 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Model Stella Maxwell was declared a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2015. Named to Maxim's Hot 100, she has also campaigned for Max Factor cosmetics, H&M, and Puma, and has graced the covers of major fashion magazines. An LGBT icon, she has publicly dated Miley Cyrus and Kristen Stewart.
 16 
Allie Sherlock
38
Birthdate: April 7, 2005
Sun Sign: Aries

Irish singer, songwriter, and guitarist Allie Sherlock came into the limelight in 2017 after a YouTube cover of hers went viral. Even though she had been uploading her music on YouTube since 2014, it was only in 2017 that she gained widespread attention. Since then, she has appeared in a few TV shows as well.

 17 
Dominique McElligott
(Irish Actress)
Dominique McElligott
2
Birthdate: March 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Dominique McElligott is best known for her appearances in Hell on Wheels, The Astronaut Wives Club, The Boys, and the Netflix series House of Cards. She began her career with On Home Ground, in her teens. Her character in The Philanthropist was dropped before the series started airing.
 18 
Sarah Bolger
(Actress)
Sarah Bolger
1
Birthdate: February 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Sarah Bolger is best known for her roles in movies such as Stormbreaker, The Lazarus Effect, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. She is also known for her IFTA Award-winning performance as Princess Mary Tudor in the series The Tudors and for her role as Princess Aurora in Once Upon a Time.

 19 
Sinead O’Connor
(Irish Singer & Songwriter)
Sinead O’Connor
22
Birthdate: December 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glenageary, Ireland

Sinead O’Connor is an Irish singer and songwriter known for her controversial statements as much as for her work as a musician. Apart from releasing solo albums and singles, she has also collaborated with other artists and recorded songs for films. She often makes headlines for expressing views on subjects, such as women's rights, child abuse, sexuality, and organized religion.

 20 
Mary II of England
(Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689 - 1694))
Mary II of England
10
Birthdate: April 30, 1662
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 28, 1694

Mary II of England was Queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 to 1694. Although she co-reigned along with her husband William III of England, she also took major decisions by herself whenever William was abroad. Mary has been portrayed in films, such as Orlando and England, My England.

 21 
Vogue Williams
(Television presenter)
Vogue Williams
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Reality TV star Vogue Williams soared to fame with the show Fade Street. Initially a DJ, Vogue had also worked for Stellar magazine. She later won Bear Grylls: Mission Survive. She also once launched her own fitness bootcamp. Vogue is married to TV personality Spencer Matthews.

 22 
Nicola Coughlan
6
Birthdate: January 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
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 23 
Maureen O'Sullivan
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
Died: June 23, 1998
 24 
Nadine Coyle
(Pop Singer and a Member of the Girl Group ‘Girls Aloud')
Nadine Coyle
1
Birthdate: June 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Derry, Northern Ireland

Part of the award-winning girl band Girls Aloud, Irish singer-actor Nadine Coyle began her career with the show Popstars and later launched a solo career, with songs such as Go To Work. She has also been a model and has launched an Irish pub, which was later run by her family.

 25 
Siobhan Fahey
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Irish singer and musician Siobhan Fahey is best known as a founding member of the British/Irish girl group Bananarama. As part of the group, she delivered several top 10 hits. Later, she formed the musical act, Shakespears Sister, which went on to win an Ivor Novello Award. In her 60s now, she continues to be active in the music scene.

 26 
Sarah Greene
(Actress)
Sarah Greene
0
Birthdate: July 21, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
 27 
Katie Taylor
(Irish Professional Boxer, Former Footballer and Undisputed Lightweight Champion Since 2017)
Katie Taylor
5
Birthdate: July 2, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland

A 5-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist, Katie Taylor is one of Ireland’s best boxers. She also has 6 gold medals at the European Championship. Born amid poverty in the coastal town of Bray, to a boxer father, Katie was initially trained by him.

 28 
Maria Doyle Kennedy
(Actress Known for Playing Catherine of Aragon on the Series 'The Tudors')
Maria Doyle Kennedy
2
Birthdate: September 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland

Irish singer and actor Maria Doyle Kennedy is best known for her role as Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors. She has also been part of films such as The Conjuring 2 and The Commitments. Once part of the Black Velvet Band, she has also released several solo albums.

 29 
Ali Hewson
(Activist and Co-founder of the Fashion Line "EDUN" and Skincare Products Company "Nude")
Ali Hewson
5
Birthdate: March 23, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Ali Hewson is an Irish businesswoman and activist. In the 1990s, Hewson joined the anti-nuclear movement and started working with activists like Adi Roche. In 2002, she played a key role in organizing campaigns against the Sellafield nuclear facility in England. As a businesswoman, Hewson has co-founded a skincare company and a fashion label called Nude skincare and EDUN respectively.

 30 
Kerry Condon
(Irish Actress Best Known for Her Role as ‘Octavia of the Julii’ in the TV Series ‘Rome’)
Kerry Condon
6
Birthdate: January 4, 1983
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tipperary, Ireland

Irish actress Kerry Condon is popularly known for playing the role of Octavia of the Julii in the TV series Rome. Also active in theater, she is the youngest actress ever to play Ophelia in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet. She has appeared in numerous movies as well and received acclaim for her performance in Intermission. 

 31 
Andrea Corr
(Singer-songwriter)
Andrea Corr
4
Birthdate: May 17, 1974
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dundalk, Ireland

Andrea Corr is an Irish singer, musician, songwriter, actress, and author. She is part of the popular Celtic pop-rock and folk-rock group The Corrs, where she plays the ukulele, piano, and tin whistle apart from being the lead singer. Also a humanitarian, Andrea Corr takes part in several charitable activities to raise money for various causes.

 32 
Louisa Harland
0
Birthdate: 1994 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 33 
Sorcha Cusack
(Irish Television and Stage Actress)
Sorcha Cusack
4
Birthdate: April 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Sorcha Cusack is an Irish actress known for her association with popular theatre companies, such as the Royal Exchange, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the National Theatre. Born into a family of actors, Sorcha Cusack followed in the footsteps of her parents to establish herself as an actress. 

 34 
Sinéad Cusack
(Irish Stage and Film Actress)
Sinéad Cusack
5
Birthdate: February 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dalkey, Ireland

Sinéad Cusack is an Irish actress best known for her contribution to British and Irish theatre. Over the years, she has received nominations for prestigious awards, such as the Tony Award and Olivier Award. In 2020, Sinéad Cusack was named in Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times.

 35 
Aisling Franciosi
(Irish Actress Known for Her Role as ‘Katie Benedetto’ in TV Series ‘The Fall’)
Aisling Franciosi
6
Birthdate: June 6, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Aisling Franciosi is best known as Katie Benedetto from the series The Fall and as Kate Crawford from the TNT series Legends. She was also seen as Lyanna Stark in Game of Thrones and as Clare Carroll in The Nightingale, and won an AACTA award for the latter.
 36 
Ruth Kearney
0
Birthdate: November 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 37 
Brenda Fricker
5
Birthdate: February 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 38 
Niamh Algar
(Actress)
Niamh Algar
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ireland
 39 
Iris Murdoch
(Irish & British Novelist Best Known for Her Novels: 'Under the Net', 'The Sea, the Sea' and 'The Bell')
Iris Murdoch
3
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

One of the most popular Irish-born British novelists, Iris Murdoch is remembered for her psychological novels, which had a good dose of sexuality, philosophy, morality, and comic elements. While she won the Booker Prize for The Sea, the Sea, the Oxford alumnus had also worked for the HM Treasury and the UN.

 40 
Grace Marks
3
Birthdate: 1828
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ulster
Died: 1873 AD
 41 
Fionnula Flanagan
3
Birthdate: December 10, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 42 
Una Healy
(Pop Singer Best Known as a Member of Five-Piece Girl Group 'The Saturdays')
Una Healy
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: County Tipperary, Ireland

Una Healy initially rose to fame as part of the 5-member girl group The Saturdays. The Irish singer is the niece of country music star Declan Nerney. A talented swimmer, she gave up the sport at 13 to switch to music. She has also scored solo hits such as Stay My Love.  

 43 
Dervla Kirwan
(Irish Actress)
Dervla Kirwan
7
Birthdate: October 24, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Dervla Kirwan gained fame as Assumpta Fitzgerald in the series Ballykissangel. She was also seen in Goodnight Sweetheart and in The Next Doctor, a Christmas special episode of Doctor Who. A skilled stage actor, too, she has appeared in plays such as a production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal.
 44 
Siobhan McSweeney
2
Birthdate: December 27, 0000
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: County Cork, Ireland
 45 
Mary Jane Kelly
(Criminal)
Mary Jane Kelly
4
Birthdate: 1863 AD
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: November 9, 1888
 46 
Anne of Denmark
(Queen Consort of England and Ireland (1603 - 1619))
Anne of Denmark
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1574
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Skanderborg, Denmark
Died: March 2, 1619

Often described as a "dumb blonde," Anne of Denmark, who became the queen of Scotland, England, and Ireland, through her marriage to King James VI and I, was an art connoisseur known for attending extravagant masques. She probably also converted to Catholicism later, going against James’s anti-Catholic stance.

 47 
Valerie Hobson
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Larne, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: November 13, 1998
 48 
Sharon Horgan
(Known for the Comedy Series 'Pulling' and 'Catastrophe')
Sharon Horgan
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hackney, London, England

London-born Irish actor and writer Sharon Horgan is best known for her BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated writing for the series Catastrophe. She has also won awards for her acting in the sitcom Pulling and established the production company Merman. She is the sister of former rugby player Shane Horgan.

 49 
Grace O'Malley
1
Birthdate: 1533 AD
Birthplace: Umhaill, Ireland
Died: June 18, 1603

One of the most well-known female pirates from Ireland, Grace O'Malley began seafaring at age 11. Also known as Gráinne Mhaol, or Bald Grace, for cutting off her hair in her early days to make her sea journeys easy, she is remembered for her legendary resistance to England and Queen Elizabeth I.

 50 
Catherine FitzGerald
(Landscape architect)
Catherine FitzGerald
1
Birthdate: May 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland