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 Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Spanish, Irish, American

 2 Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 31, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish

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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 3 Richard Harris

Richard Harris
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish
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.

 4 Robert Sheehan

Robert Sheehan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 7, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Irish

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.

 5 Maureen O’Hara

Maureen O’Hara
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish, American
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.

 6 Evanna Lynch

Evanna Lynch
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish
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.
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 7 Aisling Bea

Aisling Bea
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Famous As: Actress, Stand up Comedian
Birthdate: March 16, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish

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.

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 8 Sarah Bolger

Sarah Bolger
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish

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.

 9 Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 19, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish, American
Died: January 13, 2009

 10 Niall Buggy

Niall Buggy
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 3, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish
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 11 Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 12, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish

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 Philip O Sullivan

Philip O Sullivan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 4, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish

 13 Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish

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.

 14 Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish, American

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 Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish

 16 Michael Gambon

Michael Gambon
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish, British

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.

 17 Aidan Gillen

Aidan Gillen
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish
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.

 18 Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish

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.

 19 Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish
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.

 20 Peter O'Toole

Peter Seamus O'Toole
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 2, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish, British
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.

 21 Stuart Townsend

Stuart Townsend
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Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: December 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Irish
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.

 22 Katherine Ryan

Katherine Ryan
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: June 30, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Irish

 23 Aidan Turner

Aidan Turner
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish
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.

 24 Katie McGrath

Katie McGrath
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1983
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Irish

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.

 25 Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish
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.

 26 Walter O'Brien

Walter O'Brien
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Famous As: Business Person
Birthdate: February 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish

 27 James Hewitt

James Hewitt
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Famous As: Military Leaders
Birthdate: April 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish, British

 28 Chris O'Dowd

Chris O'Dowd
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish

 29 Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish
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.

 30 Jessie Buckley

Jessie Buckley
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 28, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Irish

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.

 31 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh
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Famous As: Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish, British

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.

 32 Sinéad Cusack

Sinéad Cusack
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Irish

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.

 33 Sharon Horgan

Sharon Horgan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Irish, British

 34 Brian McFadden

Brian McFadden
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish

 35 Dominique McElligott

Dominique McElligott
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: March 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish
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.

 36 Barry Keoghan

Barry Keoghan
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Irish

 37 Colin O’Donoghue

Colin O’Donoghue
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Famous As: Actor, Musician
Birthdate: January 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Irish

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.

 38 Brian Gleeson

Brian Gleeson
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Irish

 39 Stephen Gately

Stephen Gately
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 17, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Irish
Died: October 10, 2009

 40 Ruth Kearney

Ruth Kearney
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Irish

 41 Jason O'Mara

Jason O'Mara
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish, American

 42 Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish

 43 Nadine Coyle

Nadine Coyle
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish, British

 44 Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish

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.

 45 Liam Cunningham

Liam Cunningham
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Irish

 46 Sarah Greene

Sarah Greene
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 21, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Irish

 47 Maureen O'Sullivan

Maureen O'Sullivan
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Irish, American
Died: June 23, 1998

 48 Paddy McGuinness

Paddy McGuinness
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Famous As: Comedians
Birthdate: August 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Irish, British

 49 Brendan O'Carroll

Brendan O'Carroll
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Irish

 50 Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: April 16, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish, Indian, British
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.