Neil Harbisson is a cyborg artist best known for implanting an antenna in his skull. He is the first person in the world to do so. He gained international prominence after he was legally recognized by the government as a cyborg. An influential activist for transpecies rights, Neil Harbisson co-founded the Cyborg Foundation in 2010. The organization defends cyborg rights.
Immortalized in the Irish ballad Grace, Irish cartoonist Grace Gifford was a regular contributor to many reputed publications such as The Irish Review. She was part of the Republican movement and married her lover Joseph Plunkett just hours before he was killed by firing squad for his invoolvement in the Easter Rising.
Best known for his abstract paintings composed of geometrical forms, Irish-born British artist Sean Scully is now based in the US. He worked as a laborer and a truck loader while he trained in art. A former Harvard fellow, he later became the first Western artist to with a career-tracking retrospective in China.
Known for books such as Figure of Eight, Patricia Cockburn was not just an author but also an avid traveler and conchologist. She was also associated with publications such as The Evening Standard and The Week, and became an artist of shell pictures in her later life.
Born in Austria, contemporary visual artist Gottfried Helnwein later bought a castle in Cologne, where he worked, and then moved to Ireland, where he bought another castle and transformed it into his studio. His hyper-realistic performance art and installations, known as Aktions, reflect grim themes such as the Holocaust.
Part of the rock band Hawkwind in the 1970s, Stacia Blake, better known as Stacia, is now a popular visual artist in Ireland. Known for her bold dance routines with the band, Stacia often went topless for her performances. Towering over 6 feet, she was also said to be bisexual.
An illegitimate child of architect Edward Godwin and actor Ellen Terry, Edward Gordon Craig later grew up to be one of the pillars of modernist English theater. While he began his career acting at the Lyceum Theatre, he later switched to set designing. The Art of the Theatre remains his best-known written work.
11 John Lavery
A major figure of the Glasgow school of painting, Irish painter John Lavery is remembered for his realism in his portraits, landscapes, and war paintings. Though made the official artist for World War I, health issues prevented him from fulfilling the role. He was, nevertheless, knighted for his achievements.
Best remembered for his portraits, Irish artist Sir William Orpen was an official war artist for Britain during World War I and the official artist of the Paris Peace Conference. His initial paintings were largely inspired by Realist artist Édouard Manet. Though knighted later, he was posthumously criticized as flimsy.
Best known for his legendary red-and-black portrait of Marxist leader Che Guevara, which became a symbol of leftist revolution worldwide, Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick had also met the legend as a teenager. Fitzpatrick has been highly influenced by Celtic artwork. He has also released several books on art.
Part of the avant-garde movement, Irish artist Derek Rowen, better known as Guggi, had initially performed as part of the post-punk band The Virgin Prunes. He later focused on art and became known for his abstract paintings of bowls and vessels. He has also held exhibitions in the US, Germany, and Monaco.
Better known as the father of legendary Irish poet W.B. Yeats, John Butler Yeats was a talented painter in his own right. Initially a barrister, he later studied art formally and focused on painting but failed to sell his works and eventually died in a boarding house.
Born to a Nigerian father and an Irish mother, Kevin Sharkey was adopted and later raised in a foster home, where he witnessed abuse. Initially a dance prodigy, he took to painting as a therapy for abuse. The openly bisexual artist has held successful global exhibitions and has also dabbled in politics.
17 Paul Kane
Irish-Canadian painter Paul Kane was known for his paintings of subjects ranging from Native Americans, missionaries, and landscapes, and his attention to detail, especially the jewelry and attire of his subjects. Specializing in portraits, he also later released Wanderings of an Artist, which was a collection of his travel experiences.
Apart from being a talented comedian and impressionist, Mario Rosenstock is also a skilled musician. Known for the Irish radio comedy show Gift Grub, he had mimicked everyone from Colin Farrell to Roy Keane. While he has performed in various musical plays, his musical parodies have topped the Irish charts.
At the time of her death at age 111, Katherine Plunket became Ireland’s oldest person to have ever existed. Born into Irish aristocracy, Plunket was the granddaughter of the first Baron Plunket. She was also well-traveled and was known for her botanical illustrations, collected in Wild Flowers from Nature.
20 Stella Steyn
Irish artist Stella Steyn initially studied art in Paris and later at the Bauhaus. She provided illustrations for James Joyce’s novel Finnegans Wake and is remembered for her depictions of the female body and her still lifes, partifcularly flowers. She was practically forgotten in Ireland long time till the late`1990s.
Remembered for his depictions of rural life, Irish painter William Mulready had initially gained fame for his still-life paintings and was then inspired by Dutch painters to paint detailed narratives. He also designed the Mulready stationery, including the first postage envelopes and lettersheets in Britain.
Eighteenth-century Irish painter Charles Jervas lived most of his life in England and was best known for his portraits. His subjects included intellectuals and literary figures such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He had also penned a translation of Cervantes’s Don Quixote, which was published posthumously.
Irish painter Roderic O'Connor was part of the Pont-Aven movement and spent much of his professional life in Paris, frequenting artist hubs such as the Chat Blanc restaurant and networking with artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. He is remembered as a major figure of the impressionist and post-impressionist styles.
24 Evie Hone
While she initially studied painting, artist Evie Hone later switched to stained glass art. Her works exhibit a strong influence of Cubism. My Four Green Fields remains her best-known work, though she received multiple commissions, including the Chapel at Eton College. She also co-founded the Irish Exhibition of Living Art.
25 John Luke
Known for his figurative paintings and landscapes, artist John Luke incorporated the style of Regionalism in his art. While he initially worked in a shipyard and a mill, an art scholarship changed his life. The Road to the West and The Three Dancers remain two of his best-known works.
Renowned etcher and engraver Myra Kathleen Hughes became one of the first women to be part of the Royal Society of Painter Etchers and Engravers. She had exhibited her works at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy and is remembered for her topographical etchings.
27 Samuel Lover
Reluctant to work at his father’s stockbroking firm, Samuel Lover fled to become a poet, novelist, songwriter, and painter. Known for his miniature portraits and his songs such as Rory O’More, he is also said to have introduced the precursor of the stage Irishman stock character in the novel Handy Andy.
Apart co-establishing the Royal Academy, Nathaniel Hone the Elder made a name for himself as a master painter of miniatures and portraits. Born into a Dutch family in Dublin, he spent most of his professional life in London. His controversial painting The Conjurer was viewed as an attack on Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Though initially a railway engineer, Irish-born Nathaniel Hone the Younger later moved to Paris to study art. For a while, he stayed at the Barbizon artists’ colony in the forest of Fontainebleau and also traveled widely around France. Known for his farm settings in his art, he also founded a golf club.