Famous Irish Directors

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

Vote for Your Favourite Irish Directors

 1 
Brendan Gleeson
(Actor, Director)

Brendan Gleeson
5
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.

 2 
Martin McDonagh
(Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker)

Martin McDonagh
4
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.

 3 

Patrick McGoohan
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States
Died: January 13, 2009

Though born in the US, Patrick McGoohan moved to the US with his family as a child and later became one of Britain’s best-known actors. Fans loved him as John Drake in Danger Man and as Number Six in The Prisoner. He is also known for his Emmy-winning performance in the series Columbo.

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 4 

Liam Cunningham
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Initially an electrician who worked at a Zimbabwean safari park, Liam Cunningham changed his luck by applying for an acting school after coming across an ad. The Irish actor is known for his signature stare and thick Irish accent and became internationally renowned as Davos Seaworth in Game of Thrones.

 5 

Stuart Townsend
4
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.

 6 

Adrian Dunbar
3
Birthdate: August 1, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, UK

Best known for his award-winning performance as Ted Hastings from the BBC series Line of Duty, Adrian Dunbar has also entertained audiences with his roles in Ashes to Ashes and Broken. The Guildhall alumnus has also been nominated for the BAFTA twice and has also directed plays.

 7 

Brendan O'Carroll
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Finglas, Dublin, Ireland

Apart from being a comedian, Brendan O'Carroll is also a fine writer. Best known as Agnes Brown from the sitcom Mrs. Brown's Boys, he later played the role in various spin-offs and a couple of movies too. He has also penned several books and screenplays.

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 8 

Richard Harris
0
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.

 9 

Domhnall Gleeson
0
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Born to award-winning Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson initially gained fame with his Tony-nominated role in the Broadway play The Lieutenant of Inishmore. However, he is best known to audiences as Bill Weasley from the Harry Potter film series. He has also been part of series such as Black Mirror.

 10 
Roman Coppola
(Filmmaker)

Roman Coppola
3
Birthdate: April 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

The son of director Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola is best known for his Academy Award-nominated screenplay of Moonrise Kingdom. He faced the camera for the first time as an 8-year-old in his father’s The Godfather: Part II. He has also directed music videos for artists such as Green Day and Daft Punk.

 11 
Conor Woodman
(Film Director)

Conor Woodman
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galway

Irish author, director, and broadcaster Conor Woodman is best known for hosting the TV show Around the World in 80 Trades. Starting his career as a financial analyst, he eventually became an investigative journalist. With time, he branched out into film-making as well. Also a fiction writer, he is planning to launch a novel series soon.

 12 
Neil Jordan
(Director and Screenwriter)

Neil Jordan
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rosses Point, Ireland

Neil Jordan is a screenwriter, film director, short-story writer, and novelist. In 1979, his book Night in Tunisia earned him the Guardian Fiction Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award. In 1992, he received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his work in the film The Crying Game. He is also credited with creating a TV series called The Borgias.

Stephen McKinley Henderson
2
Birthdate: August 31, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kansas City, USA

Best known for his work in the plays of August Wilson, actor Stephen McKinley Henderson has also impressed audiences with his roles in movies such as Lincoln and Dune. The Juilliard-educated actor has also been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in the play Fences.

 14 

William Desmond Taylor
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Carlow, Ireland
Died: February 1, 1922
Actor-director William Desmond Taylor, a popular figure from the silent era of Hollywood, made headlines when he was found murdered in his LA bungalow. The case, which initiated a media frenzy, remains unsolved to date due to lack of evidence, in spite of a deathbed confession from actor Patricia Palmer.

 15 
John Carney
(Film director)

John Carney
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland Ireland

Initially a bassist and vocalist for the Irish rock band The Frames, John Carney later gained fame as the executive producer of the rom-com anthology Modern Love. His award-winning music drama Once was filmed on a budget of 100,000 Euros on 2 digital camcorders but grossed $7 million in its first 3 months.

 16 
Lenny Abrahamson
(Film director known known for directing such praised independent films as Adam & Paul (2004), Garage (2007), What Richard Did (2012), and Frank (2014))

Lenny Abrahamson
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 17 
Lisa Dwan
(Actress)

Lisa Dwan
2
Birthdate: November 25, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coosan, Ireland

 18 
Olwen Fouere
(Actress)

Olwen Fouere
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Ireland

 19 

Daragh O Malley
2
Birthdate: May 25, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Born to a minister father and a doctor mother, Daragh O Malley started appearing in plays as a student and won recitation prizes, too. Best known as Patrick Harper from the series Sharpe, he also gained accolades for his appearance as Big Daddy in a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

 20 
Hugh O Conor
(Film actor)

Hugh O Conor
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 21 
Greg Tiernan
(Animator)

Greg Tiernan
2
Birthdate: June 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 22 
Kevin McClory
(Screenwriter)

Kevin McClory
2
Birthdate: June 8, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland
Died: November 20, 2006

Best remembered as the producer of the James Bond flick Thunderball, Irish director-producer Kevin McClory had a long-drawn legal battle with the author of the James Bond novel series Ian Fleming. Previously part of the British Merchant Navy, he was once stranded on a raft at sea and narrowly escaped death.

 23 

Vincent Dowling
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 9, 2013

 24 
Steve Barron
(Director and producer known for directing the music video for Michael Jackson's international mega-hit)

Steve Barron
0
Birthdate: May 4, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 25 
Edward Gordon Craig
(Actor, Director, Illustrator, Scenographer, Painter)

Edward Gordon Craig
1
Birthdate: January 16, 1872
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stevenage
Died: July 29, 1966

An illegitimate child of architect Edward Godwin and actor Ellen Terry, Edward Gordon Craig later grew up to be one of the pillars of modernist English theater. While he began his career acting at the Lyceum Theatre, he later switched to set designing. The Art of the Theatre remains his best-known written work.

 26 

Simon Delaney
2
Birthdate: September 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Raheny, Dublin, Ireland

 27 
Conor McPherson
(Playwright)

Conor McPherson
1
Birthdate: August 6, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 28 
Tony Lundon
(Singer)

Tony Lundon
1
Birthdate: April 13, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland

Best known as part of the British-Irish pop group Liberty X, Tony Lundon has also hosted the quiz show TOAST. While he failed to make it to the winning group of the show Popstars, he and the other runners-up ended up forming Liberty. He later performed solo and launched a production company too.

 29 
Nora Twomey
(Animator)

Nora Twomey
1
Birthdate: October 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland

Irish animator and voice actor Nora Twomey is best known for co-founding the animation studio Cartoon Saloon. She also directed the Oscar-nominated animated films The Secret of Kells and The Breadwinner. A school drop-out, she initially worked in a factory, before studying fine art and then animation.

 30 
Aisling Walsh
(Director)

Aisling Walsh
1
Birthdate: 1958 AD
Birthplace: Derval O'Rourke

 31 
Dearbhla Walsh
(Director)

Dearbhla Walsh
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Unknown

 32 

Roy William Neill
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: December 14, 1946

 33 

Andrew Connolly
1
Birthdate: November 30, 1965
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 34 
Matt Moore
(Actor)

Matt Moore
1
Birthdate: January 8, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kells, County Meath, Ireland
Died: January 21, 1960

 35 

Lumsden Hare
1
Birthdate: October 17, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: August 28, 1964

Stage actor/director Lumsden Hare had his first stint as an actor on stage at age 19 and gradually mastered character roles in plays of George Bernard Shaw. Known for plays such as What Every Woman Knows, he later stepped into films and mostly played the roles of priests, doctors, or aristocrats.

 36 

Michael J. Dolan
1
Birthdate: 1884 AD
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: October 21, 1954

Remembered for his long-term association with the Abbey Theatre and for films such as Scrooge, Irish actor Michael J. Dolan later also took over the management of the former. He was also known for his appearances in plays by Teresa Deevy, such as The King of Spain's Daughter.

 37 

Herbert Brenon
1
Birthdate: January 13, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire Kingstown, Ireland
Died: June 21, 1958

Irish director, screenwriter, and actor Herbert Brenon initially worked as a Broadway call boy and also performed in vaudeville with his wife before he became a sensation in the silent-film era. While shooting for Neptune’s Daughter, one of his best-known films, he was injured in a water tank explosion.

 38 

Jimmy Smallhorne
0
Birthdate: 1964 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 39 
Terry McMahon
(Film actor)

Terry McMahon
0
Birthdate: 1969 AD
Birthplace: Mullingar, Ireland

The award-winning writer-director of the Irish drama film Patrick's Day, Terry McMahon also acted in the movie. He has also appeared in films such as Batman Begins and has lectured on cinema at institutes such as Trinity College. He is also known for his viral speech This is Our Ireland.

 40 
Mary Raftery
(Journalist)

Mary Raftery
0
Birthdate: December 21, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 10, 2012

 41 
Charles Davis
(Film actor)

Charles Davis
0
Birthdate: August 31, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: December 12, 2009

 42 

Douglas Gerrard
0
Birthdate: August 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: June 5, 1950

 43 

Shelah Richards
0
Birthdate: May 23, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 19, 1985

Though born to a lawyer father and an activist mother, Shelah Richards was interested in the arts since the very beginning. An actor and director, known for projects such as Return to Glennascaul, she later directed series such as The Riordans and also led the RTE as its drama director.

 44 
Éamon de Buitléar
(Writer, Film director)

Éamon de Buitléar
0
Birthdate: January 22, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bray, Ireland
Died: January 27, 2013

 45 

Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
0
Birthdate: July 16, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ireland

 46 
Ria Mooney
(Actress)

Ria Mooney
0
Birthdate: April 30, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 3, 1973

Ria Mooney scripted history when she became the woman to serve the Abbey Theatre as a producer. A fine actor, she was known for her roles in projects such as This Other Eden and Riders to the Sea. Starting her acting career as a child, she later studied art too.

Darach Mac Con Iomaire
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Ireland

 48 

Barry McEvoy
0
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland