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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Initially a property developer, Mick Wallace later joined politics with the left-wing Irish party Independents 4 Change. A member of the European Parliament, he has been controversy’s favorite child due to his comments such as Taiwan is part of China. He also faced financial issues and was declared bankrupt in 2016.
Widely known as the uncrowned king of Ulster, Scottish-Irish unionist Edward Carson is best remembered for spearheading the resistance against the British government’s imposition of the Home Rule for Ireland. As a barrister, he was responsible for noted author Oscar Wilde’s conviction for homosexuality, which was illegal back then.
Latif Yahia is an Iraqi former military officer who played a prominent role in the Iran–Iraq War. He achieved popularity when he claimed that he had been Uday Saddam Hussein's body double for many years, although his claims have been challenged by many. Yahia's claims inspired the 2011 film The Devil's Double, where he was played by Dominic Cooper.
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.