The highest paid fighter of Ultimate Fighting Championship, Conor McGregor is one of the most famous athletes in the world. His ascent from humble beginnings to becoming ‘The Notorious’ has been fuelled by McGregor’s mastery of martial arts, skilful fighting style and powerful punches. He is the first fighter to hold both UFC Featherweight Championship and UFC Lightweight Championship simultaneously.
One of the most successful footballers from Ireland, Roy Keane became one of the stars of Manchester United. A talented midfielder, he has helped the team win multiple FA Cups and Premier League championships. Post-retirement, he has also managed teams such as Sunderland and Ipswich Town.
Michael Fassbender is a critically-acclaimed Irish-German actor best known for playing a sex addict in the psychological erotic drama film Shame. Apart from being an actor, Michael is also a well-known racing driver; he started his auto racing career in 2017 and currently races for Proton Competition in the European Le Mans Series.
Irish wrestler Fergal Devitt performs as Finn Bálor for the NXT brand under WWE. He has won titles such as the NXT Championship, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Also known as Prince Devitt, he co-founded NWA Ireland, his own promotion.
The most capped footballer of the Irish national team, Robbie Keane is also Ireland’s top goal-scorer, with 68 international goals. Starting his career at 17, he was initially part of the English league system and played for teams such as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. He later also represented LA Galaxy.
Better known as boxer Tyson Fury’s father and trainer, John Fury was himself as boxer and bare-knuckle fighter in his own right. Also popular as Gypsy John Fury because of his Irish traveler origins, he was once convicted of gouging a man’s eye out during an argument over a beer bottle.
Irish-born footballer Shane Long is best known as a striker for English club Southampton. He had also been a national-level hurler and a Gaelic footballer in the past. He was part of the 2011 Nations Cup-winning Irish squad and has won a Football League Championship with Reading, too.
Former MMA fighter from Ireland, Joseph Duffy soared to fame fighting for Cage Warriors and The Ultimate Fighter. He also competed as a professional boxer. Also known as Irish Joe, he retired from MMA after losing the match at the UFC Fight Island 2 against Joel Álvarez.
Known for his 12-year stint with Manchester United, Irish footballer Denis Irwin established himself as a dependable left-back, winning many championships with the club, such as the Premier League and the FA Cup. Post-retirement, he launched a successful media career as a sports presenter on channels such as MUTV.
Irish footballer Darren Randolph is best known as a goalkeeper for teams such as West Ham United and Birmingham City. He has also had a successful stint with the Scottish team Motherwell and with the Premier League team Charlton Athletic. He has also made headlines for his relationship with singer Alexandra Burke.
Irish footballer Séamus Coleman is best known as the captain of Everton and the Irish national team. Though he scored his first international goal in his 40th match for Ireland, he had earlier captained the team to a UEFA Euro group game win over Italy.
Irish boxer Kevin McBride was in his teens when he represented his country in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. His career saw him win many bouts, including the Irish senior heavyweight title. He is perhaps best known for his miraculous win over boxing legend Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight champion.
Irish footballer James McClean is best known as a winger for Wigan Athletic and has also played for teams such as Sunderland and Derry City in the past. While he initially played for Northern Ireland junior team, he rejected a call to join their senior team and opted for the Republic of Ireland.
A 5-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist, Katie Taylor is one of Ireland’s best boxers. She also has 6 gold medals at the European Championship. Born amid poverty in the coastal town of Bray, to a boxer father, Katie was initially trained by him.
Once named the next Paul Scholes, Irish footballer Darron Gibson is known for his stints with Manchester United and Everton. However, his image suffered a massive blow after his brush with the law in a drunk-driving case and his expletive-laced rant with fans in a bar.
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington had started training in golf at age 5. Now a multiple Ryder Cup winner and a PGA champion, he has also won 2 British Open championship titles. He has been twice named the European Tour Golfer of the Year. He is promotes the Special Olympics as its global ambassador.
Legendary Irish footballer Paul McGrath has been a dependable center back for teams such as Manchester United and Aston Villa. Born as an illegitimate child of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother, he was raised in an orphanage. In spite of being a sporting genius, he has had alcohol issues.
Scottish-born footballer James McCarthy is now best known as a dependable Celtic midfielder. He also represents the Irish national team, because his grandparents were Irish. He has previously won an FA Cup with Wigan Athletic, beating Manchester City, and has also played for the English club Everton.
Of his 16-year-long stint as a professional cyclist, Sean Kelly has spent 5 years as the world’s number one racer. A specialist in classic races, he was the Paris–Nice winner for 7 consecutive times. Regarded as the second-best cyclist ever, he later had a successful career as a Eurosport commentator.
Renowned as a talented midfielder, former Irish footballer Stephen Ireland is known for his stints with clubs such as Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Stoke City. He has been, in the past, been involved in controversies regarding his exclusion from the Ireland team, and amid speculations, eventually never returned to play.
Regarded as the most successful boxer from Ireland, Steve Collins created history by becoming the first to beat the then-undefeated British boxer Chris Eubank. He has been both a WBO middleweight and super-middleweight champion. He has also been an army boxing coach and has appeared in a film, too.
One of the most respected rugby players of all time, Brian O'Driscoll holds the Irish record for playing the most number of matches as a captain and also for try scores. He led his country to win a Grand Slam after 61 years and is part of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Former Irish footballer Jonathan Walters has had a 10-year stint with the Premier League, playing for teams such as Stoke City. He has also captained Ireland and been capped 54 times for them. Post-retirement, he has focused on coaching and is now associated with the Ireland U19 team.
Veronica Guerin wasn’t just one of the most popular crime journalists of Ireland but also represented her country in both basketball and football. Her articles revolved around Irish drug lords and criminals, and she was eventually murdered by kingpin John Gilligan’s men while driving on the outskirts of Dublin.
Irish footballer Anthony Stokes is best known for his stints with teams such as Arsenal, Celtic, and Sunderland. Known for his volatile temper, he has been in trouble with the law for headbutting a car park attendant and for stalking his former girlfriend and sending her father abusive texts.
Former footballer Shay Given is the second-highest-capped Irish player ever. He began his career as a teen and signed with Glasgow Celtic at 15. An ace goalkeeper, he has played for teams such as the Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, and Aston Villa. He now coaches Derby County.
Born in London, Andy Lee grew up in Limerick, Ireland, and began training as a boxer at age 8. He competed as a 19-year-old at the Athens Olympics. Apart from winning silvers at the EU Championships and the World Junior Championships, he also won a gold at the 2004 European Championship.
Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore scripted history as the first female winner of Britain’s Grand National horse race. Born to a dairy farmer, she was raised on a farm and spent her childhood riding ponies. She turned a professional jockey in 2015. She was also the first female leading jockey at Cheltenham.
Richard Dunne had joined the youth team of Everton at age 15 and then had a 9-year stint with Manchester City. Known as Dunney to his fans, the former Irish football star became the first player to be named City’s Player of the Year 4 times. Post-retirement, he has focused on golf.
Starting his career with the youth team of his hometown Barnsley, footballer Mick McCarthy later played for the Irish national team and clubs such as Manchester City and Celtic. He has also coached teams such as the Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sunderland, apart from appearing as a sports commentator on TV.
Irish golfer Shane Lowry became the second from his country to win a Major Championship title. Born to celebrated Gaelic footballer Brendan Lowry, Shane was always interested in sports. The 2015 World Golf Championship winner also supports his country’s Gaelic sports club. He was the third amateur to score a European Tour title.
Irish-born gymnasts of Azerbaijani origin, Jennifer Gadirova and her twin, Jessica, have both excelled at artistic gymnastics at the international level. Jennifer has not only won an Olympic bronze for Britain but also became the first British gymnast to earn a Junior World Championship medal, with her silver win in 2019.
Apart from winning 2 Premier Leagues with Chelsea, former Irish footballer Damien Duff also had a 14-year stint with the Irish national team, playing in over 100 matches with them and also representing them in a World Cup. Post-retirement, he turned coach and has managed teams such as Celtic and Shelbourne.
Born to Nigerian parents in Dublin, Irish footballer Michael Obafemi grew up in London and began his youth career with teams such as Chelsea and Arsenal. His senior career saw him playing for Southampton and Swansea City. Though eligible to play for Nigeria, England, and Ireland, he chose to play for Ireland.
Irish-born Steve Finnan started his football career with the youth team of Wimbledon and then graduated to Birmingham City, Fulham, and Liverpool. Capped a little over 50 times for the Republic of Ireland, he is also the only player to have played for all 4 English football league levels and the Football Conference.
Irish-born footballer Glenn Whelan is best known for his stints with teams such as Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Stoke City, and now represents the Bristol Rovers as a defensive midfielder. With his 90 appearances for Ireland, he also became the ninth-most-capped player from Ireland.
Known as The Clones Cyclone, Irish boxer Barry McGuigan is a former WBA and lineal featherweight champion. He also represented his country in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and won a Commonwealth Games gold, too. Now a boxing manager, he owns Cyclone Promotions and also heads the Professional Boxing Association.
Though one of most talented Irish footballers ever, Wes Hoolahan played only 43 matches for the Irish national team. He is better known for his decade-long stint with Norwich City, with whom he won a Football League One title. Even after retiring from international football, he continues to play for clubs.
Footballer Matt Doherty, who had a successful youth career with teams such as Bohemians, is now a dependable defender of the Tottenham Hotspur and the Irish national team. Owing to his Dutch mother, he was eligible to play for the Netherlands, too, but chose the country of his birth instead.
Boxer Gary O'Sullivan is known for his multiple title wins, including the WBA and WBO championships. A middleweight boxing star, he has also appeared in movies such as Strength and Honour. He used the COVID-19 lockdown to gain new tactics and wishes to manage boxers post-retirement.
Dublin-born footballer Niall Quinn made waves as a striker for clubs such as Arsenal, Sunderland, and Manchester City. Known for his towering 6’4” frame, he won a Football League Cup with Arsenal. His popularity can be gauged by the fact that his fans created a song, Niall Quinn's Disco Pants, just for him.