Famous Irish Intellectuals & Academics

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 George Berkeley

George Berkeley
4
Famous As: philosopher
Birthdate: March 12, 1685
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1753

George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish philosopher who is credited with popularizing a theory called immaterialism, which claims that material substance like tables and chairs can't exist without being perceived by the mind. Berkeley influenced several philosophers like David Hume. Also remembered for his humanitarian work, George Berkeley worked towards creating homes for abandoned children in London.

 2 Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle
4
Famous As: Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law
Birthdate: January 25, 1627
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: December 30, 1691

Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish chemist, natural philosopher, inventor, and physicist. Regarded as the first modern chemist, Boyle is often counted among the founders of modern chemistry. One of the pioneers of the scientific method, Robert Boyle is also remembered for his books, including The Sceptical Chymist, which is viewed as a keystone book in chemistry.

 3 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch
4
Famous As: Novelist
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.

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 4 Mark Carney

Mark Carney
7
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada

After his 13-year stint with Goldman Sachs, Mark Carney served as the governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. He was also part of the Canadian finance department. He is an ice-hockey lover and played the sport actively during the school and university days.

 5 Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke
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Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: January 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Died: July 9, 1797

Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was a member of parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Great Britain for several years. He supported  Catholic emancipation and strongly opposed the French Revolution. He felt revolution destroyed the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society. He is considered the philosophical founder of modern conservatism. 

 6 Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Alex Awards winning Irish-Canadian playwright, literary historian, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter Emma Donoghue is best known for authoring award winning novels like Room and Hood. Room, an international best-seller, was adapted into a film bearing same title that not only emerged as a critical and commercial success but also garnered four Oscar nominations at the 88th Academy Awards.

 7 Hans Sloane

Hans Sloane
3
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 16, 1660
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Killyleagh, Northern Ireland
Died: January 11, 1753

British doctor Hans Sloane traveled to Jamaica as a personal physician of the 2nd duke of Albermarle and was soon engrossed in the natural species of the region. He documented his collections, and they eventually helped form the British Museum. He is also known as the inventor of drinking chocolate.

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 8 Cindy O Callaghan

Cindy O Callaghan
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 18, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Republic of Ireland Ireland

 9 Francis Ysidro Edgeworth

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
2
Famous As: Economist, Statistician, Lawyer, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 8, 1845
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Longford
Died: February 13, 1926

Francis Ysidro Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish economist and statistician, known for his significant contributions to the methods of statistics. An autodidact in mathematics and economics, he imaginatively applied mathematics to the fields of economics and statistics, writing several books, including Mathematical Psychics, presenting new ideas on various topics like on the generalized utility function, the indifference curve etc.  .

 10 G. E. M. Anscombe

G. E. M. Anscombe
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: January 5, 2001

A prominent figure in the philosophical movement of Analytical Thomism, British analytic philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe is remembered for her writings on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, philosophy of action, and ethics. The term consequentialism was introduced by her in the article Modern Moral Philosophy which has influenced the emergence of contemporary virtue ethics.

 11 Tony Ryan

Tony Ryan
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: February 2, 1936
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: October 3, 2007

The founder of Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, Tony Ryan had to give up his studies at 18, following his father’s death, and take up jobs. He first tasted success in the aircraft leasing arena, with Guinness Peat Aviation. He also made significant charitable contributions to various Irish educational institutes.

 12 Francis Hutcheson

Francis Hutcheson
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Famous As: Philosopher, Economist
Birthdate: August 8, 1694
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saintfield, County Down, Ulster, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1747

 13 John Scotus Eriugena

John Scotus Eriugena
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0815 AD
Birthplace: Gaelic Ireland
Died: 0877 AD

 14 Garret FitzGerald

Garret FitzGerald
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 9, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 19, 2011

 15 Mary Ward

Mary Ward
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Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: April 27, 1827
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ballylin, County Offaly, Ireland
Died: 1869 AD

English nun Mary Ward was one of the first to show how influential women could be in the Church. Her work led to the development of the Congregation of Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Loreto Sisters. She traveled on foot all across Europe, establishing schools and was often criticized by traditionalists.

 16 Jan Łukasiewicz

Jan Łukasiewicz
2
Famous As: Polish logician
Birthdate: December 21, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lviv
Died: February 13, 1956

 17 Margaret Hassan

Margaret Hassan
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Famous As: Aid worker who had worked in Iraq for many years until she was abducted and murdered by unidentified kidnappers in Iraq
Birthdate: April 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 8, 2004

Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan, who was also referred to as Madam Margaret, remained in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War, and joined the international humanitarian agency called CARE International that year. She worked in Iraq for several years and became head of Iraqi operations for CARE in 2004. The same year, she was kidnapped and murdered by unidentified kidnappers.

 18 J.B. Bury

J.B. Bury
2
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: October 16, 1861
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clontibret, Ireland
Died: June 1, 1927

 19 William Thompson

William Thompson
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: March 28, 1833

 20 Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy
2
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: February 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dundalk, Ireland

 21 David McWilliams

David McWilliams
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Famous As: Journalist, broadcaster, economist
Birthdate: 1966 AD
Birthplace: Dún Laoghaire, Ireland

 22 Derek Warfield

Derek Warfield
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 23 Herbert McCabe

Herbert McCabe
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 24 J. W. Dunne

J. W. Dunne
2
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: December 2, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Curragh Camp, Ireland
Died: August 24, 1949

 25 William Edward Hartpole Lecky

William Edward Hartpole Lecky
2
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 26, 1838
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 22, 1903

 26 Richard Kearney

Richard Kearney
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland

 27 Catherine Corless

Catherine Corless
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Tuam, County Galway, Ireland

 28 Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson
0
Famous As: Second Assistant Commissioner (Crime) of the London Metropolitan Police, from 1888 to 1901
Birthdate: May 29, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 15, 1918

 29 Cahal Daly

Cahal Daly
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 1, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Loughguile, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: December 31, 2009

 30 George Salmon

George Salmon
1
Famous As: Mathematician, Chess player
Birthdate: September 25, 1819
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: January 22, 1904

George Salmon initially gained fame as a remarkable mathematician only to switch to theology in his later years. A linen merchant’s son, he graduated from Trinity College on a scholarship and then taught at Trinity and made developments in the study of algebraic geometry. He was later ordained a priest.

 31 Dicuil

Dicuil
1
Famous As: Monk
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Ireland

 32 Edmund Malone

Edmund Malone
1
Famous As: Scholar and editor
Birthdate: October 4, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 25, 1812

 33 Mariga Guinness

Mariga Guinness
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Famous As: Former Architectural historian, co-founder of the Irish Georgian Society
Birthdate: September 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 8, 1989

 34 John Dominic Crossan

John Dominic Crossan
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 17, 1934
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland

Irish-American theologian John Dominic Crossan, who has previously been a Roman Catholic priest, was also associated with the Jesus Seminar. It is believed, he had quit Catholic priesthood to marry Margaret, his professor wife, and had then focused on teaching and writing. His written works include Who Killed Jesus?

 35 William Francis Patrick Napier

William Francis Patrick Napier
1
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: December 7, 1785
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Celbridge, Ireland
Died: February 12, 1860

 36 George Tyrrell

George Tyrrell
1
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 6, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 15, 1909

 37 Sabina Brennan

Sabina Brennan
1
Famous As: Actresses
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 38 Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell
2
Famous As: Minister
Birthdate: September 12, 1788
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Broughshane, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: March 4, 1866

Alexander Campbell was a Scots-Irish immigrant who went on to become an ordained minister in America. He then joined forces with his father and led a reform effort, which came to be known as the Restoration Movement. Also referred to as the Stone-Campbell Movement, it helped develop non-denominational Christian churches. 

 39 Standish James O'Grady

Standish James O'Grady
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 18, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Castletown, County Cork, Ireland
Died: May 18, 1928

 40 George Francis FitzGerald

George Francis FitzGerald
1
Famous As: Physicist, University teacher
Birthdate: August 3, 1851
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin
Died: February 22, 1901

Irish physicist and Trinity College professor George Francis FitzGerald made pioneering contributions to wireless telegraphy with his discovery of a way of producing radio waves. His Lorentz–FitzGerald contraction was later used by Albert Einstein in his special theory of relativity. He also made unsuccessful attempts to create a flying machine.

 41 Alice Stopford Green

Alice Stopford Green
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: May 30, 1847
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ceanannus Mór, Ireland
Died: May 28, 1929

 42 John Elliott Cairnes

John Elliott Cairnes
1
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: December 26, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Castle Bellingham, Ireland
Died: July 8, 1875

 43 Juan Galindo

Juan Galindo
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Famous As: Political activist, military and administrative officer under the Liberal government of the Federal Republic of Central AmericaArchaeologist whose reports on his findings earned him recognition as an early pioneer of Maya archaeology
Birthdate: 1802 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: 1839 AD

 44 John Kells Ingram

John Kells Ingram
1
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: July 7, 1823
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pettigo, Ireland
Died: May 1, 1907

Irish economic historian John Kells Ingram didn’t just excel in math in his younger days but also showed considerable talent in literature and languages, teaching oratory and Greek at Trinity. He is remembered for his extensive work on the Poor Law and also for his contribution to inversive geometry.

 45 George Croly

George Croly
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 17, 1780
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 24, 1860

 46 Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie

Arnaud-Michel d'Abbadie
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Famous As: Geographers
Birthdate: July 24, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 13, 1893

 47 Marianne Elliott

Marianne Elliott
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: May 25, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Northern Ireland

 48 Arthur Keaveney

Arthur Keaveney
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: July 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
Died: June 23, 2020

 49 Justin McCarthy

Justin McCarthy
0
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: November 22, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: April 24, 1912

 50 Robert Gregg Bury

Robert Gregg Bury
0
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: March 22, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clontibret, Ireland
Died: February 11, 1951