Top 40 Irish Actors

by Byron-James7 | created - 04 Oct 2013 | updated - 04 Oct 2013 | Public

List of the top Irish male screen actors. (In my humble opinion)

1. Gabriel Byrne

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Byrne was the first of six children, born in Dublin, Ireland. His father was a cooper and his mother a hospital worker. He was raised Catholic and educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. He spent five years of his childhood in a seminary training to be a Catholic priest. He later said, "I spent ...

2. Colin Farrell

Actor | The Lobster

Colin Farrell is one of Ireland's best rising stars in Hollywood and abroad today. His film presence has been filled with memorable roles that range from an inwardly tortured hit man, to an adventurous explorer, a determined-but-failing writer, and the greatest military leader in history.

Farrell ...

3. Brendan Gleeson

Actor | The Guard

Brendan Gleeson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Pat and Frank Gleeson. From a very young age, he loved to learn, especially reading classical text in and outside the classroom. He took great attention to Irish play writers such as Samuel Beckett, which eventually led to him performing in his high ...

4. Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Actor | Match Point

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keefe on July 27, 1977, in Dublin, Ireland, to Mary Geraldine (Meyers) and John O'Keeffe, a musician. He and his family moved to County Cork, Ireland, when the actor was nearly a year old, and then, at the age of 3, his father left the family...

5. Cillian Murphy

Actor | 28 Days Later...

Striking Irish actor Cillian Murphy was born in Douglas, the oldest child of Brendan Murphy, who works for the Irish Department of Education, and a mother who is a teacher of French. He has three younger siblings. Murphy was educated at Presentation Brothers College, Cork. He went on to study law ...

6. Brían F. O'Byrne

Actor | Million Dollar Baby

Brían F. O'Byrne was born on May 16, 1967 in Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland as Brían Flynn O'Byrne. He is an actor, known for Million Dollar Baby (2004), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007) and Bug (2006).

7. Michael Fassbender

Actor | Shame

Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany, to a German father, Josef, and an Irish mother, Adele (originally from Larne, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland). Michael was raised in the town of Killarney, Co. Kerry, in south-west Ireland, where his family moved to when he was two years old. ...

8. Liam Neeson

Actor | Kinsey

Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, to Katherine (Brown), a cook, and Bernard Neeson, a school caretaker. Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by ...

9. Peter O'Toole

Actor | Lawrence of Arabia

A leading man of prodigious talents, Peter O'Toole was raised in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of Constance Jane Eliot (Ferguson), a Scottish nurse, and Patrick Joseph O'Toole, an Irish metal plater, football player and racecourse bookmaker. Upon leaving school, he decided to become a ...

10. Pierce Brosnan

Actor | The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left...

11. Colm Meaney

Actor | Con Air

Colm Meaney was born on May 30, 1953 in Dublin, Ireland. He is an actor and producer, known for Con Air (1997), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and Under Siege (1992). He has been married to Ines Glorian since March 15, 2007. He was previously married to Bairbre Dowling.

12. Ciarán Hinds

Actor | The Woman in Black

Ciaran Hinds was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on February 9, 1953. He was one of five children and the only son. His father was a doctor who hoped to have Ciaran follow in his footsteps, but that was not to be. It was his mother Moya, an amateur actress, who was the real influence behind his ...

13. Stephen Rea

Actor | The Crying Game

Stephen Rea was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast High School and the Queen's University, where he studied English. He later trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin. In 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company in Dublin with the talented Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. After ...

14. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

Actor | The Infiltrator

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor was born in 1977 in Dublin, Ireland. He is an actor, known for The Infiltrator (2016), Peaky Blinders (2013) and The Secret Agent (2016). He has been married to Claire Cox since September 5, 2010. They have one child.

15. Aidan Gillen

Actor | Game of Thrones

Aidan Gillen is an Irish actor. He is best known for portraying Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011), CIA operative Bill Wilson in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Stuart Alan Jones in the Channel 4 series Queer as Folk (1999), John Boy in the RTÉ Television series ...

16. David Kelly

Actor | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Born Dublin, Ireland on July 11 1929. Educated at Synge Street Catholic boys school. Started acting aged 8 in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Playing everything from Beckett to Shakespeare, he has appeared in theatre, TV and film constantly since 1959. Awards include: Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding ...

17. Ray Stevenson

Actor | Thor

Tall, dark, but somewhat gentle-looking actor Ray Stevenson was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland on 25 May 1964, on a British army base. His father was a British pilot in the Royal Air Force, and his mother is Irish. He moved with his family to Lemington, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England in 1972 at ...

18. Sam Neill

Actor | Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities ...

19. Michael Gambon

Actor | Gosford Park

Sir Michael Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland, to Mary (Hoare), a seamstress, and Edward Gambon, an engineer. After joining the National Theatre, under the Artistic Directorship of Sir Laurence Olivier, Gambon went on to appear in a number of leading roles in plays written by Alan Ayckbourn...

20. Michael McElhatton

Actor | Game of Thrones

Michael McElhatton was born in 1963 in Terenure, Dublin, Ireland. He is an actor and writer, known for Game of Thrones (2011), The Fall (2013) and Genius (2017).

21. Jason O'Mara

Actor | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Jason O'Mara was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Soon after graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Drama and Theatre he moved to London, England, to further pursue his acting career. Time spent in British repertory theater led to leading roles in acclaimed productions at some of ...

22. David Wilmot

Actor | Intermission

David Wilmot is an actor, known for Intermission (2003), Anna Karenina (2012) and The Guard (2011).

23. Peter McDonald

Actor | The Stag

Peter McDonald was born on January 28, 1972 in Dublin, Ireland. He is an actor and writer, known for The Bachelor Weekend (2013), The Damned United (2009) and Pentecost (2011).

24. Stuart Townsend

Actor | The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Stuart Townsend was born in 1972 in Howth, County Dublin, Ireland, to Lorna (Hogan), an Irish model, and Peter Townsend, an English professional golfer. Stuart was determined to be an actor and began his career by appearing in a number of student films, while attending the Gaiety School of Acting ...

25. Robert Sheehan

Actor | The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Robert Sheehan is an Irish actor. He was born in Portlaoise, County Laois, the son of Joe and Maria Sheehan. His father was a member of the Garda Síochána, the police force of the Republic of Ireland.

As a child, Sheehan was interested in performing music. He learned how to play the banjo, the ...

26. Peter Coonan

Actor | Love/Hate

Peter Coonan is an actor, known for Love/Hate (2010), We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018) and What Richard Did (2012).

27. Liam Cunningham

Actor | Hunger

Irish actor Liam Cunningham was an electrician in the mid 80's. He saw an ad for an acting school and he decided to give acting a try. His first film role was as a policeman in "Into the West." Since then, he has been involved in many films and theater productions on both sides of the Atlantic.

28. Sean McGinley

Actor | On a Clear Day

Sean McGinley was born in 1956 in Gaoth Dobhair, Donegal, Ireland. He is an actor and writer, known for On a Clear Day (2005), Braveheart (1995) and Michael Collins (1996). He has been married to Marie Mullen since 1990. They have two children.

29. James Nesbitt

Actor | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

James Nesbitt was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, to May, a civil servant, and James Nesbitt, a primary school headmaster. He was educated at Coleraine Academical Institution (also the school of Brian Campbell & Brian McAlister). He originally planned to be a French teacher. It ...

30. Gerard McSorley

Actor | Michael Collins

Gerard McSorley was born in 1950 in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He is an actor, known for Michael Collins (1996), Omagh (2004) and Anton (2008).

31. Aidan Turner

Actor | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Aidan Turner was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1983. After graduating from the Gaiety School of Acting in 2004, Aidan appeared in a number of stage productions, many with Ireland's national theatre, The Abbey. Such productions included The Plough & The Stars, Romeo & Juliet and A Cry from Heaven. In ...

32. Dylan Moran

Actor | Black Books

Irish comedian Dylan Moran was born in Navan, County Meath in 1971. Leaving school without any qualifications at age 16, Moran quickly became attracted to stand-up comedy and debuted, in 1992, at a comedy club in Dublin, The Comedy Cellar. A year later, he won the Channel Four comedy newcomer's "So...

33. Devon Murray

Actor | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Devon Murray was born in County Kildare, Ireland in October 1988. His parents Michael and Fidelma Murray sent him to the Billie Barry when he was six, and within two weeks he landed a Tesco television ad. Within six months he was in his first movie, acting alongside Aidan Quinn in This Is My Father...

34. Richie Stephens

Actor | Criminal Minds

Richie Stephens is an Irish actor and writer who lives in Los Angeles, California. He is best known for playing cops and villains on movies and TV, his appearances in multiple "Florence + The Machine" music videos and his ability to do a broad range of accents.

He has appeared in over 100 stage and ...

35. Eamonn Owens

Actor | The Butcher Boy

Eamonn Owens was born on January 18, 1983 in Killeshandra, Ireland. He is an actor, known for The Butcher Boy (1997), Breakfast on Pluto (2005) and The Fitz (2000).

36. Martin McCann

Actor | The Survivalist

Martin McCann grew up with a brother and sister in the Divis Flats area of Falls Road in Belfast.

In 2006 Lord Richard Attenborough cast McCann in his film after seeing him play Alex in a stage production of A Clockwork Orange. Attenborough called Spielberg and recommended McCann. He was invited to ...

37. Killian Scott

Actor | '71

Killian Scott was born as Cillian Murphy. He is an actor and writer, known for '71 (2014), Calvary (2014) and Damnation (2017).

38. Ciaran Owens

Actor | Angela's Ashes

Ciaran Owens was born in 1985 in Co. Cavan, Ireland. He is an actor, known for Angela's Ashes (1999), Ballykissangel (1996) and Agnes Browne (1999).

39. Allen Leech

Actor | The Imitation Game

Allen Leech was born on May 18, 1981 in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland. He is an actor, known for The Imitation Game (2014), Downton Abbey (2010) and Love Is the Drug (2004).

40. Mark Dunne

Stunts | The Lodgers

Mark Dunne is known for his work on The Lodgers (2017), The General (1998) and Disco Pigs (2001).



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