Irish

Think there is nothing more to Ireland than its own "beer-soaked revelries" and its sexiest nationalities? If yes, then you really need to sit up and read intently about the lives, struggles, and accomplishments of some of world's famous Irish people that will not just fill you with deep admiration, but will leave your jaws hanging on the floor. That is right! While beer, revelry and revolution has always been some of the essential components of an Irish life, amid all the fight, fun, wit and wisdom there is this impressive lot of extraordinary Irish people who have made significant contribution to the world in their own unique way. From heralded scribes and ingenious inventors to national heroes and a credulous intelligence unit, this land of luck, literature and leprechauns have marked an indelible place in the heart of the world, thanks to these great people. Pour yourself a pint and grab that bag of crisps as you take a glimpse down the inspiring lives of Ireland's famous people in the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts wrapped up in their biographies below.

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.
30
Listed In: Sportspersons
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.
10
Listed In: Writers
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.

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 3 Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury.
15
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Regent's Park, 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.

 4 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.

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 5 Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen.
20
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.

 6 Bono

Bono.
5
Listed In: Singers
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.

 7 Rory Mcllroy

Rory Mcllroy.
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
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.
4
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 Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy.
19
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.

 10 Graham Norton

Graham Norton.
6
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.

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 11 Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan.
10
Listed In: Actresses
Famous As: Actress
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.

 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 George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw.
2
Listed In: Writers
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.

 14 Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan.
8
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.

 15 Niall Horan

Niall Horan.
2
Listed In: Singers
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.

 16 Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch.
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Professional Wrestler
Birthdate: January 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Limerick
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.

 17 James Joyce

James Joyce.
3
Listed In: Writers
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.

 18 Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell.
9
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.

 19 Richard Harris

Richard Harris.
6
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.

 20 W B Yeats

W B Yeats.
2
Listed In: Writers
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 Domhnall Gleeson

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

 22 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.

 23 Sinead O’Connor

Sinead O’Connor.
4
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
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.

 24 Aidan Gillen

Aidan Gillen.
2
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.

 25 Dolores O'Riordan

Dolores O'Riordan
7
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 6, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ballybricken, County Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 15, 2018

 26 Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson.
3
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.

 27 Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett.
1
Listed In: Writers
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.

 28 Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner.
3
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.

 29 Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara.
4
Famous As: Actress
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.

 30 Hozier

Hozier.
3
Listed In: Singers
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.

 31 Finn Balor

Finn Balor.
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
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.

 32 Katie McGrath

Katie McGrath.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1983
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashford, County Wicklow

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.

 33 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.

 34 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.

 35 Evanna Lynch

Evanna Lynch.
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Termonfeckin, Republic of 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.

 36 Enya

Enya
2
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 17, 1961
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gweedore, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland

 37 Roy Keane

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

 38 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift.
4
Listed In: Writers
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.

 39 Stella Maxwell

Stella Maxwell.
4
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Actress
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.

 40 Mischa Barton

Mischa Barton
1
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England
British-American actress Mischa Barton rose to fame with Lawn Dogs (1997) starring opposite renowned actor Sam Rockwell. She received two Teen Choice Awards for playing Marissa Cooper in the Fox television series The O.C. her other works include Notting Hill, The Sixth Sense and Pups. She is also an ambassador for Save the Children and the One Water campaign.

 41 The Edge

The Edge.
0
Listed In: Singers
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. 

 42 Chris O'Dowd

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

 43 Bob Geldof

Bob Geldof.
4
Listed In: Activists
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.

 44 Jacksepticeye

Jacksepticeye.
2
Listed In: YouTubers
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.

 45 Yvonne McGuinness

Yvonne McGuinness.
6
Famous As: Visual Artist
Birthdate: October 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilkenny
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.

 46 Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott.
2
Listed In: Singers
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.

 47 Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar.
3
Listed In: Leaders
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.

 48 Michael Collins

Michael Collins.
2
Listed In: Leaders
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.

 49 Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 50 Sheamus

Sheamus.
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
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.