Famous Irish Leaders

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 Leaders

 1 
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1834))

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
12
Birthdate: May 1, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 14, 1852
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, served as the British prime minister twice. He also served as the governor of Seringapatam and Mysore, and won the Battle of Assaye. He led the Hundred Days War and along with the Prussian army, won the Battle of Waterloo, defeating Napoleon.

 2 
Michael Collins
(Politician)

Michael Collins
6
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.

 3 
Bobby Sands
(Member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA))

Bobby Sands
13
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newtownabbey, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Died: May 5, 1981

Robert Gerard Sands, better known as Bobby Sands, was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, who died during a 1981 hunger strike, along with nine other strikers, protesting against the removal of Special Category Status from IRA prisoners. He had helped plot the 1976 Balmoral Furniture Company bombing.

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 4 
Martin McGuinness
(Politician)

Martin McGuinness
7
Birthdate: May 23, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK [now Derry City, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK]
Died: March 21, 2017

Once the deputy minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness has also served as his country’s education minister. He had also been part of the Provisional Irish Republican Army during the Northern Ireland conflict. The Sinn Féin politician had a major role to play in the Good Friday Agreement.

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 5 
Michael Higgins
(President of Ireland)

Michael Higgins
9
Birthdate: April 18, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Limerick

Irish politician, Michael Higgins, took office as the ninth president of Ireland in November 2011. Previously, he served as minister for arts, culture, and the Gaeltacht and mayor of Galway. As the president, he has actively addressed issues related to justice, social equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism, and anti-racism. He is also a poet, writer, and sociologist.

 6 
Leo Varadkar
(Tánaiste (Since 2020))

Leo Varadkar
14
Birthdate: January 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: 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.

Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1850
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballylongford, Ireland
Died: June 5, 1916

Horatio Herbert Kitchener is remembered for his military acumen and for his large-scale organization of troops during World War I. He had served the Egyptian army and the British army in South Africa, and was the commander-in-chief in India. He died aboard the HMS Hampshire when the cruiser drowned.

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 8 
Patrick Pearse
(Barrister and a Leader of the Easter Rising in 1916)

Patrick Pearse
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1916

Patrick Pearse was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, and revolutionary. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Opinionated with radical views, he decided as a boy that he would dedicate his life to Irish freedom. A relentless idealist, he was executed after the Easter Rising and was immortalized as a symbol of the rebellion.

 9 
Enda Kenny
(Irish Politician)

Enda Kenny
5
Birthdate: April 24, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Castlebar

Apart from serving as the prime minister of Ireland, former Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has also been his country’s defense minister. Initially a teacher, he stepped into politics after the death of his father, politician Henry Kenny. A public scandal involving a police whistleblower almost toppled his government.

 10 
Mary Robinson
(7th President of Ireland (1990 - 1997))

Mary Robinson
7
Birthdate: May 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ballina, Ireland

A seasoned lawyer and a Harvard and Trinity College alumna, politician Mary Robinson has also taught law at Trinity. The Labour Party member later rose to be Ireland’s first female president. She was also a founding member of the global group of peacekeepers and leaders The Elders.

 11 
Charles Stewart Parnell
(Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party (1882-91))

Charles Stewart Parnell
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Avondale House, Rathdrum, Ireland
Died: October 6, 1891

Charles Stewart Parnell led both the Irish Parliamentary Party and the Home Rule League. A nationalist, he is remembered as one of the pioneering political leaders of Europe. However, his political image suffered a huge blow after he was dragged into an adultery scandal with Katherine O’Shea.

 12 

Grace O'Malley
6
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Umhaill, Ireland
Died: June 18, 1603

Part of Irish folklore, Grace O'Malley was known as The Pirate Queen. Born into a seafaring family and was known for her unrelenting attitude toward the English. Known for her exploits in the Nine Years' War, she refused to bow down to Queen Elizabeth, as she herself was a queen.

 13 
John Hume
(Irish Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (1979-2001))

John Hume
4
Birthdate: January 18, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Died: August 3, 2020
John Hume, founder of the SDLP, was a major figure in the Northern Ireland peace process. He became the only person to win all three major peace awards: the Nobel Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, and the Martin Luther King Award, and was “knighted” by Pope Benedict XVI.

 14 

Constance Markievicz
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: July 15, 1927

Irish revolutionary political leader and suffragist Constance Markievicz scripted history by becoming the first woman to be elected as a cabinet minister in Europe and also the first female to be elected to the British Parliament. Sentenced to death for her role in the Easter Rising, she was later granted amnesty.

 15 
Gerry Adams
(Politician)

Gerry Adams
9
Birthdate: October 6, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Belfast

Gerry Adams is an Irish republican politician who served as the president of Sinn Féin between 1983 and 2018. He was also a Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth for nine years, from 2011 to 2020. He has been an important figure in the Northern Ireland peace process for almost four decades. He is also the author of several books. 

 16 
Mary McAleese
(8th President of Ireland (1997 - 2011))

Mary McAleese
4
Birthdate: June 27, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ardoyne, Ireland

Apart from being a qualified barrister, Mary McAleese also taught criminal law at the Trinity College and also worked as a journalist. She later joined Fianna Fáil and soon became Ireland’s second female president. She has also written several books, including an autobiography. She is known as a prominent LGBT activist.

 17 
Wolfe Tone
(Revolutionary)

Wolfe Tone
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1763
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 19, 1798

Initially a lawyer, Wolfe Tone later ditched his practice to co-establish the Society of United Irishmen, aimed at ending the British reign in Ireland. A prominent face of the Irish Rebellion, he led French forces into Ireland during the 1798 rebellion. Sentenced to be hanged, he later slit his own throat and died.

 18 
Bertie Ahern
(Former Taoiseach)

Bertie Ahern
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Drumcondra, Dublin

Fianna Fáil leader and former prime minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern made history as the second-longest-serving PM in Ireland’s history. Though it is believed he was educated at University College Dublin and LSE, the institutes don’t have any record of him having studied there. He is also an avid sports lover.

 19 

Dana Rosemary Scallon
6
Birthdate: August 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Islington, London, England

 20 
Anne Marie Waters
(Politician)

Anne Marie Waters
5
Birthdate: August 24, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Far-right British activist Anne Marie Waters initially joined the UK Independence Party, but after losing its leadership election to Henry Bolton, she formed For Britain, her own anti-Islam party. Her election manifesto promises to ban the burqa and the Sharia Law. The former Labour supporter had also launched the anti-Islam group Pegida UK.

 21 
Laurence Sterne
(Novelist)

Laurence Sterne
3
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clonmel, Ireland
Died: March 18, 1768

Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1760
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dangan Castle, Ireland
Died: September 26, 1842

 23 
Arthur Griffith
(Former Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom (1918-1922))

Arthur Griffith
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1871
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: August 12, 1922

Best known as the founder of the political party Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffith was also a journalist who launched the nationalist newspaper United Irishman. Though he didn’t participate in the Easter Rising, he was arrested and later released. He negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty and became the president of Dáil Éireann.

 24 
Daniel O'Connell
(Politician)

Daniel O'Connell
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: nowrap Cahersiveen, County Kerry, Kingdom of Ireland Ireland
Died: May 15, 1847

Daniel O'Connell, also known as The Liberator, was an Irish lawyer who later became a leader of Irish Catholics and was eventually elected to the UK Parliament. He was one of the first Catholics to become Lord Mayor of Dublin and one of the first great nationalist leaders of Ireland.

 25 
Mary Lou McDonald
(Politician)

Mary Lou McDonald
8
Birthdate: May 1, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald scripted history when she became the first female leader of the opposition in Ireland. While she initially studied English literature, her later research interests included European affairs. She is also a fitness enthusiast and has taken to boxing to keep fit.

 26 
Robert Emmet
(Revolutionary Leader)

Robert Emmet
3
Birthdate: March 4, 1778
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 20, 1803

 27 
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
(Politician, Writer)

Richard Brinsley Sheridan
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1751
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 7, 1816

Irish-born playwright and satirist Richard Brinsley Sheridan is remembered for his plays such as The School for Scandal and A Trip to Scarborough. He owned Drury Lane Theatre in London and was known for reviving the Restoration comedy of manners, replete with stock characters and satire.

 28 

Andrew Browne Cunningham
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: June 12, 1963

 29 

Thomas Francis Meagher
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1823
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland
Died: July 1, 1867

 30 
Douglas Hyde
(Former President of Ireland)

Douglas Hyde
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1860
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Castlerea
Died: July 12, 1949

 31 
Brian Cowen
(Taoiseach, politician)

Brian Cowen
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Clara

 32 
Thomas Langlois Lefroy
(MP for the constituency of Dublin University in 1830–1841, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1852–1866)

Thomas Langlois Lefroy
0
Birthdate: January 8, 1776
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: May 4, 1869

 33 
Hazel Chu
(Politician)

Hazel Chu
7
Birthdate: 1980 AD
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

 34 
Norma Foley
(Politician)

Norma Foley
6
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: Tralee, County Kerry

 35 
Eoin O'Duffy
(Political Activist)

Eoin O'Duffy
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lough Egish, County Monaghan, Ireland
Died: November 30, 1944

Irish revolutionary leader and military commander Eoin O'Duffy led the liberal-conservative party Fine Gael. He also spearheaded the Irish paramilitary organization Blueshirts. He later lost a lot of his popularity due to his fascist ways and also made an unsuccessful attempt to help Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

 36 
Edward Bruce
(High King of Ireland (1315–1318))

Edward Bruce
3
Birthdate: 1275 AD
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: 1318 AD

 37 
Paddy Holohan
(Politician)

Paddy Holohan
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tallaght, Ireland

 38 
Kitty Kiernan
(Revolutionary)

Kitty Kiernan
6
Birthdate: January 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Granard, Ireland
Died: July 25, 1945

 39 
Latif Yahia
(Former body double of Uday Hussein)

Latif Yahia
0
Birthdate: June 14, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Baghdad, Iraq

Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1769
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: August 12, 1822

 41 

Thomas MacDonagh
3
Birthdate: February 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cloughjordan, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1916

Born to schoolteacher parents, Thomas MacDonagh initially aspired to be a missionary. However, he later taught English and French, and then focused on writing. The author of plays such as When the Dawn Is Come, MacDonagh later joined the Irish Volunteers and led the Easter Rising before being executed by shooting.

 42 
Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet
(politician, diplomat, officer)

Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet
4
Birthdate: 1715 AD
Birthplace: County Meath
Died: July 11, 1774

 43 

Erskine Hamilton Childers
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England
Died: November 17, 1974

 44 
W. T. Cosgrave
(Politician)

W. T. Cosgrave
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 16, 1965

 45 
Mairead McGuinness
(Politician)

Mairead McGuinness
5
Birthdate: June 13, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Drogheda, Ireland

Peter Lalor
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1827
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: County Laois
Died: February 9, 1889

 47 

Terence MacSwiney
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1879
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Died: October 25, 1920

 48 
Seán Lemass
(Politician)

Seán Lemass
2
Birthdate: July 15, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballybrack, Ireland
Died: May 11, 1971

 49 

Richard Steele
4
Birthdate: March 12, 1672
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 1, 1729

 50 
Helen McEntee
(Politician)

Helen McEntee
4
Birthdate: June 8, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Navan, Ireland