Famous Irish Film & Theater Personalities

Ireland may have been capped by the domineering power of Great Britain but this ‘emerald’ country on British Isles has more to it than just beer and revelry. It is when you study closely about Irish culture and tradition that you would realise the country has been the address of some of the world famous men and women. From ingenious inventors to creative litterateurs, national heroes to prodigious leaders, it has an impressive lot of people with extraordinary achievements and accomplishments. What’s more, the country is not just about wit and wisdom – Ireland has produced some of the most talented and ingeniously gifted actors and actresses. Topping the list is Pierce Brosnam, popularly identified as James Bond, from the 1994 to 2005 Bond series. But that is not all. George Brent, Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Bolger, Daniel Day Lewis, Alison Doody, Brenda Ficker, Barry Fitzgerald, Aidan Turner and Barry McGowen are all Irish film and theatre personalities who have made their way into our hearts through their bountiful baggage of excellent works. Discover interesting facts and trivia about the life and works of Irish film and theatre personalities with this section.

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 Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
6
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.

 2 Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan
11
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.

 3 Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell
7
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.

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 4 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.

 5 Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 6 Aidan Gillen

Aidan Gillen
4
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.
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 7 Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson
4
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.

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 8 Robert Sheehan

Robert Sheehan
6
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.

 9 Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
4
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.

 10 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.

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 11 Evanna Lynch

Evanna Lynch
6
Famous As: Actress
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.

 12 Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner
4
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.

 13 Katie McGrath

Katie McGrath
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Famous As: Actress
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.

 14 Graham Norton

Graham Norton
4
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.

 15 Chris O'Dowd

Chris O'Dowd
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland

 16 Aisling Bea

Aisling Bea
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Famous As: Comedian, Actress
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.

 17 Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne
4
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.

 18 Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen
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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.

 19 Yvonne McGuinness

Yvonne McGuinness
5
Famous As: Visual Artist
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.

 20 James Hewitt

James Hewitt
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Famous As: Military Leaders
Birthdate: April 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK

James Hewitt is a British retired cavalry officer who served in the British Army. He achieved international recognition in the mid-1990s when he claimed that he had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales. The affair was confirmed by Diana in an interview in 1995. The relationship inspired a book titled Princess in Love, which was adapted into a film.

 21 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh
3
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.

 22 Sarah Bolger

Sarah Bolger
3
Famous As: Actress
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.

 23 Sinéad Cusack

Sinéad Cusack
3
Famous As: Actress
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.

 24 Colin O’Donoghue

Colin O’Donoghue
3
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.

 25 Patrick McGoohan

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

 26 Vogue Williams

Vogue Williams
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Famous As: Television presenter
Birthdate: October 2, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 27 Sharon Horgan

Sharon Horgan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hackney, London, England

 28 Brian McFadden

Brian McFadden
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Artane, Dublin, Ireland

 29 Jessie Buckley

Jessie Buckley
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Famous As: Actress
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.

 30 Stuart Townsend

Stuart Townsend
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 31 Brian Gleeson

Brian Gleeson
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 32 Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 2, 1996
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Maynooth, Ireland

 33 Nadine Coyle

Nadine Coyle
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Derry, Northern Ireland, UK

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.

 34 Dominique McElligott

Dominique McElligott
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Famous As: Actress
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.

 35 Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney
3
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.

 36 Walter O'Brien

Walter O'Brien
4
Famous As: Business Person
Birthdate: February 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Wexford, Ireland

 37 Liam Cunningham

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

 38 Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen O'Sullivan
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
Died: June 23, 1998

 39 Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Irish actor Jack Gleeson soared to fame with his portrayal of Joffrey Baratheon in the iconic series Game of Thrones. He later switched to independent theater and appeared in the BBC miniseries Out of Her Mind. The Trinity College alumnus later also co-established the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company.

 40 Barry Keoghan

Barry Keoghan
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Summerhill, Dublin, Ireland

 41 Niamh Algar

Niamh Algar
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 28, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ireland

 42 Stephen Gately

Stephen Gately
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sheriff Street Upper, Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 10, 2009

 43 Sarah Greene

Sarah Greene
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 21, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland

 44 Ruth Kearney

Ruth Kearney
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 45 Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland

 46 Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan
2
Famous As: Actor, Comedian
Birthdate: April 16, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India
Died: February 27, 2002

Spike Milligan was a British-Irish actor, writer, poet, comedian, and playwright. He is credited with co-creating and writing the popular radio comedy program, The Goon Show. His comic novel Puckoon has been adapted into a film and stage play. In August 1999, BBC conducted a poll, according to which Spike was voted the funniest person of the last millennium.

 47 Nicola Coughlan

Nicola Coughlan
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland

 48 Maria Doyle Kennedy

Maria Doyle Kennedy
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland

 49 Kerry Condon

Kerry Condon
3
Famous As: Actress
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. 

 50 Adrian Dunbar

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