Ireland is the second biggest of the British Isles by a considerable margin. After all, the next biggest British Isle would be Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides, which is about one fortieth the size. Currently, Ireland is divided up into two parts. First, there is the Republic of Ireland that encompasses about five-sixths of the island. Second, there is Northern Ireland that remains a part of the United Kingdom. Regardless, Irish culture has been very influential. For proof, look no further than the number of famous Irish celebrities.
20. Bram Stoker
Nowadays, Bram Stoker is best-known for having written Dracula, meaning that he had a huge influence on vampire media as a whole. However, it is interesting to note that he was involved in theatre as well. To be exact, Stoker was the business manager of the Lyceum Theatre. Furthermore, he was even a theatre critic.
19. Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan is both an actor and a producer. Generally speaking, people recognize him because he was the one who played James Bond before Daniel Craig. Still, it should be mentioned that Brosnan has had a wide range of roles in a wide range of other works. For instance, he became popular because he played one of the two leads in Remington Steele. Something that enabled Brosnan to embark on a very successful movie career.
18. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Jonathan Rhys Meyers has had plenty of movie roles. Having said that, he tends to be better-known because of his TV roles. One example would be how he played Elvis Presley in the mini-series called Elvis. Another example would be how he played King Henry VIII of England in The Tudors. In more recent times, people might have seen Meyers because of his role as Bishop Heahmund in the History Channel’s Vikings.
17. Saoirse Ronan
So far, Saoirse Ronan has managed to receive four Oscar nominations. Two of those nominations were for Best Actress and two of those nominations were for Best Supporting Actress. Ronan hasn’t won an Oscar at this point in time. However, those four nominations make it seem reasonable to speculate that she might at some point in the future. In any case, Ronan has managed to make a formidable reputation for herself through her work in period dramas, though she is by no means limited to them.
16. C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis wasn’t as influential as his friend J.R.R. Tolkien. Still, there can be no doubt about the fact that he is one of the greats of fantasy literature, seeing as how he was the one who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia. Besides that, Lewis is notable because of his defenses of Christianity, which showed up in his fiction as well as his non-fiction. Suffice to say that it is no coincidence that he was the man who wrote The Screwtape Letters.
15. Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender is an actor as well as a race driver. He got his debut as a Spartan warrior in 300. After which, Fassbender went on to much bigger roles. For example, he was both Brandon Sullivan in Shame and Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave. Similarly, Fassbender is the one who has been playing Magneto in the X-Men movies ever since he landed the role of a younger Magneto in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, though he did share the role with Ian McKellen for one movie in 2014.
14. Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde tends to be remembered for three things. One, he was a man of biting wit. Two, he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was on top of him being one of the most popular playwrights of the late 19th century. Three, Wilde went through one of the first celebrity trials because of consensual homosexual acts, which contributed a great deal to his early death because his imprisonment broke his health.
13. James Joyce
Ulysses has a notorious reputation. In part, this is because it is supposed to be hard-to-read. However, Ulysses also received a great deal of contemporary criticism because of its use of sexual elements. Something that can seem amusingly old-fashioned by modern standards. Regardless, the important part is that Ulysses is one of the most important works of the 20th century, not least because of its iconic use of stream of consciousness. Naturally, James Joyce merits a mention because he was the one who wrote this as well as various other works. All of which have combined to make him one of the most famous authors of the modern era.
12. Cillian Murphy
Strangely enough, Cillian Murphy started out as a musician. Moreover, he seems to have been quite decent at it, seeing as how he turned down a record deal in preference for acting. Murphy has starred in numerous movies, with examples including but not limited to 28 Days Later, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, and A Quiet Place Part II. On top of that, he is famous for his collaborations with the director Christopher Nolan, which started up with his role as Scarecrow in the Dark Knight Trilogy and has continued into the present time. In fact, Murphy is set to play J. Robert Oppenheimer in Nolan’s upcoming biodrama about the man.
11. Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor is one of the most famous MMA fighters in the entire world. After all, there is a reason that Forbes called him the single highest paid athlete of 2021 at $180 million. For that matter, it should be mentioned that McGregor has the kind of star power that one would expect from that kind of compensation. For proof, look no further than the fact that he has headlined five of the UFC’s six highest-selling pay-per-view events. Something that speaks volumes about the reputation that he has managed to build up.
10. Ernest Shackleton
The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration refers to a period that started up towards the end of the 19th century and continued until a short while after the end of the First World War. It is named thus in recognition of the immense challenges faced by those who set out to explore said region in said period. In total, there were 17 major expeditions, three of which were headed up by Ernest Shackleton. Unfortunately, the man died an untimely death from a coronary thrombosis on the third of these expeditions, which proved to be the last of the Heroic Age.
9. Enya Brennan
Generally speaking, Enya Brennan tends to be known as just Enya. Originally, she was a part of her family’s band Clannad. However, Enya eventually struck out on her own to enormous success. She is the single best-selling Irish solo artist so far. Moreover, Enya has been a huge influence on not just Celtic music but also New Age music. Even people who aren’t particularly interested in her kind of music might be familiar with her voice because of how her work has been featured in The Lord of the Rings as well as other projects.
8. Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell is another famous Irish actor. In his case, he started acting in the late 1990s, though it wasn’t too long before he came to the attention of Hollywood at the turn of the millennium. Since then, Farrell has played both heroes and villains. For example, he was one of the two leads for the Miami Vice movie in 2006. In contrast, he has played not one but two comic book supervillains, with one being Bullseye in 2003’s Daredevil and the other being the Penguin in 2022’s The Batman. On top of that, one could say that Farrell has played at least one character who was a bit of both, seeing as how he played Alexander the Great in 2004’s Alexander.
7. Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis is retired now. However, he was active from the 1970s to the late 2010s, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he has acted in a lot of projects over the course of his multi-decade career. Moreover, Day-Lewis has won much praise for his work. For instance, he was nominated six times for the Oscar for Best Actor. Out of those, Day-Lewis claimed three, which happened in 1990, 2008, and 2013. The first was earned for My Left Foot. Meanwhile, the other two were earned for There Will Be Blood and Lincoln.
6. William Butler Yeats
The Irish Literary Revival was a movement that happened in the late 19th century and early 20th century. One of its most famous figures was William Butler Yeats, who can be considered one of the most important poets of recent times. In his youth, his works were much influenced by his fascination with the occult as well as related topics. Later, his works became more realistic as well as more political. In fact, it should be mentioned that while Yeats continued to write, he served a couple of terms as a Senator of the Irish Free State in his later life.
5. Dolores O’Riordan
Dolores O’Riordan was the frontwoman of the Cranberries. Hers was a very recognizable voice in the alternative rock of the 1990s, which can be attributed to her yodeling, her keening, and her Limerick accent. Thanks to that as well as other factors, she and the rest of the band went on to enormous success, so much so that they are considered to be one of the best acts of their time. Unfortunately, O’Riordan passed away in January of 2018. The rest of the band managed to get their last studio album done. After which, the Cranberries disbanded.
Bono would be the stage name of Paul David Hewson. He is the frontman of U2, which has managed to win more than a score of Grammy Awards over the course of their career. Besides music, Bono is also famous because of his activism for social justice causes. Something that is perhaps unsurprising considering the social and political themes that often make their way into his music.
3. Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett spent most of his adult life living in Paris. However, he was born and raised in Dublin. Beckett is famous for being one of the last modernist writers, which makes sense because modernism as a movement was triggered by the huge changes that were happening in the western world in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In any case, Beckett didn’t limit himself to a single form of expression. Instead, he wrote plays, poems, novels, and short stories. On top of that, he directed theatrical productions as well as translated literature. Combined, those roles were enough for him to be elected the first Saoi of Aosdana in 1984, which says much about the regard in which he was held.
2. George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw is often considered to be the greatest playwright of his generation. Certainly, he offered enough material for interested individuals, seeing as how he wrote more than 60 plays over the course of his career. Besides that, Shaw was very political in a very controversial way, particularly since his beliefs could be contradictory to one another. Some of his views are mainstream nowadays, with an excellent example being his support for racial equality. Others are very much not, with an excellent example being eugenics. On top of that, some of Shaw’s views just seem weird, seeing as how he was very serious about alphabet reform.
1. Jonathan Swift
There are a lot of people who will recognize Jonathan Swift because of Gulliver’s Travels. However, the man is also remembered because of his very dry, very ironic style. In particular, Swift was the one who wrote A Modest Proposal, which was meant as a condemnation of the heartlessness shown towards the Irish poor as well as British policies in Ireland in general.