Special Report

Most Popular Irish Actors Right Now

Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Among the more notable exports from Ireland are literature, whiskey, Guinness stout, wool sweaters, Waterford crystal – and actors. (These are last year’s best Irish whiskeys.)

To compile a list of the most popular Irish actors right now, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a popularity ranking on IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon, of more than 3,000 actors born in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ranking is current as of March 14, 2023, but changes almost daily as IMDb users enter new scores.

Ireland has a rich stage tradition that’s produced playwrights from George Bernard Shaw to Samuel Beckett to Martin McDonagh, so it’s not surprising that many Irish actors cut their teeth in the theater before moving on to motion pictures and television.

No Irish actor has ever won an Academy Award for Best Actor or Best Actress, however (though Daniel Day-Lewis – an English-born actor with joint British/Irish citizenship – has won three Best Actor Oscars). Barry Fitzgerald did win Best Supporting Actor in 1945 for “Going My Way,” and Brenda Fricker took home the Best Supporting Actress statue in 1990 for “My Left Foot.”

Click here to see a list of the most popular Irish actors right now

Five of the actors on this list scored Oscar nominations this year, however. Among the nine nominations won by “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a dramedy about the dissolution of a lifelong friendship, were Colin Farrell for Best Actor, Brendon Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for Best Supporting Actor, and Kerry Condon for Best Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon).

Another Irish actor listed here, Paul Mescal, was nominated as best Actor for his role in “Aftersun.” Unfortunately, none of these performers took home a statuette. (These five have been up for an Academy Award only once each, but see this list of the most nominated actors who still don’t have Oscars.)

Source: Courtesy of Showtime

25. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
> Born on: July 27, 1977 in Dublin
> Known for: The Tudors (2007-2010)

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

24. Sam Neill
> Born on: Sept. 14, 1947 in Omagh, Northern Ireland (moved to New Zealand as a child)
> Known for: Jurassic Park (1993)

Source: Courtesy of Disney Media Distribution

23. Denise Gough
> Born on: Feb. 28, 1980 in Wexford
> Known for: Andor (2022)

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

22. Stuart Townsend
> Born on: Dec 15, 1972 in Howth
> Known for: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

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Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

21. Kenneth Branagh
> Born on: Dec. 10, 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland
> Known for: Henry V (1989)

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

20. Jamie Dornan
> Born on: May 1, 1982 in Holywood, Northern Ireland
> Known for: Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (2015, 2017, 2018)

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

19. Pierce Brosnan
> Born on: May 6, 1953 in Drogheda
> Known for: GoldenEye (1995)

Source: Courtesy of IFC Films

18. Genevieve O’Reilly
> Born on: Jan. 6, 1977 in Dublin
> Known for: The Dry (2020)

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

17. Jamie-Lee O’Donnell
> Born on: March 4, 1992 in Derry, Northern Ireland
> Known for: Derry Girls (2018-2022)

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Source: Courtesy of CBS Studios

16. Orla Brady
> Born on: March 28, 1961 in Dublin
> Known for: Star Trek Picard (2020-2023)

Source: Bob Riha Jr / Archive Photos via Getty Images

15. Richard Harris
> Born on: Oct. 1, 1930 in Limerick (died: Oct. 25, 2002)
> Known for: The Field (1990)

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Source: Courtesy of Pathé Distribution

14. Nora-Jane Noone
> Born on: March 8, 1984 in Galway
> Known for: The Descent (2005)

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

13. Charlie Murphy
> Born on: April 19, 1988 in Enniscorthy
> Known for: Happy Valley (2014-2023)

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

12. Eve Hewson
> Born on: July 7, 1991 in Dublin
> Known for: Robin Hood (2018)

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Source: Courtesy of BBC America

11. Sinéad Keenan
> Born on: Dec. 27, 1977 in Dublin
> Known for: Being Human (2008-2013)

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

10. Caitríona Balfe
> Born on: Oct. 4, 1979 in Dublin
> Known for: Belfast (2021)

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

9. Domhnall Gleeson
> Born on: May 12, 1983 in Dublin
> Known for: The Revenant (2015)

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

8. Brendan Gleeson
> Born on: March 29, 1955 in Dublin
> Known for: Calvary (2014)

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

7. Liam Neeson
> Born on: June 7, 1952 in Ballymena
> Known for: Taken trilogy (2008, 2012, 2014)

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Source: Courtesy of Endemol Worldwide Distribution

6. Cillian Murphy
> Born on: May 25, 1976 in Douglas
> Known for: Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)

Source: Courtesy of A24

5. Paul Mescal
> Born on: Feb. 2, 1996 in Maynooth
> Known for: Aftersun (2022)

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Source: Courtesy of A24

4. Barry Keoghan
> Born on: Oct. 18, 1992 in Summerhill
> Known for: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

3. Jessie Buckley
> Born on: Dec. 28, 1989 in Killarney
> Known for: The Lost Daughter (2021)

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

2. Colin Farrell
> Born on: May 31, 1976 in Castleknock
> Known for: In Bruges (2008)

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Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

1. Kerry Condon
> Born on: Jan. 9, 1983 in Thurles
> Known for: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

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