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Notables in Irish History (good and bad)

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  • Anno O'Rahilly (1873 - 1958)
    Anno O'Rahilly was an Irish revolutionary and Cumann na mBan member, republican prisoner and hunger-striker active in the period from 1916 to 1923. Born in Ballylongford, Co. Kerry to grocer and nation...
  • Sir Jerome Alexander (c.1590 - 1670)
    Sir Jerome Alexander (c.1590–1670) was an English-born barrister, judge and politician who spent much of his career in Ireland (after he had been professionally ruined in England) and became a substa...
  • Sighle Humphreys (1899 - 1994)
    Sighle Humphreys was an Irish political activist and member of Cumann na mBan. Humphreys was deeply involved in the republican cause. She served as as secretary, director of publicity, and national v...
  • Domhnall O'Donoghue (1897 - 1957)
    He fought on Republican side in Civil War 1922-23. Officer of 5th Battalion Engineers, Dublin Brigade IRA. Jailed for most of Civil War, 1922-23. He was on the big hunger strike, Oct-Nov 1923. The me...
  • Gerry Adams
    Gerry Adams is an Irish republican politician who is the president of the Sinn Féin political party and a Teachta Dála (TD; a member of the Irish parliament) for Louth since the 2011 general election. ...

For a comparatively small population of about 6 million people, Ireland has made an an especially enormous contribution to literature.

Famous Irish



Irish Icons in Literature

  • Bram Stoker
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Oscar Wilde,
  • George Bernard Shaw,
  • Samuel Beckett,
  • Jonathan Swift (1667–1745),
  • James Joyce.
  • William Butler Yeats,
  • Laurence Sterne,
  • Oliver Goldsmith,
  • Francis Ledwidge,
  • "A.E." Russell
  • Seamus Heaney.
  • Lady Gregory,
  • John Millington Synge,
  • Lord Dunsany,
  • Sean O'Casey,
  • Brendan Behan
  • Brian Friel.
  • Brian O'Nolan,
  • Peig Sayers,
  • Muiris Ó Súilleabháin,
  • Máirtín Ó Direáin.
  • Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig (c. 1580–1652)
  • Dáibhí Ó Bruadair (1625–1698).
  • Séamas Dall Mac Cuarta,
  • Peadar Ó Doirnín,
  • Art Mac Cumhaigh,
  • Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna,
  • Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill.

and many more . . .

There have been notable Irish scientists.

  • The Anglo-Irish scientist Robert Boyle (1627–1691) is considered the father of chemistry for his book The Sceptical Chymist, written in 1661. Boyle was an atomist, and is best known for Boyle's Law.
  • The hydrographer Rear Admiral Francis Beaufort (1774–1857), an Irish naval officer of Huguenot descent, was the creator of the Beaufort scale for indicating wind force.
  • George Boole (1815–1864), the mathematician who invented Boolean algebra, spent the latter part of his life in Cork.
  • The 19th century physicist George Stoney introduced the idea and the name of the electron. He was the uncle of another notable physicist, George FitzGerald.

Famous Irish actors include

  • Maureen O'Sullivan,
  • Maureen O'Hara,
  • Peter O'Toole,
  • Michael Fassbender,
  • Liam Neeson,
  • Daniel Day Lewis,
  • Richard Harris, Pierce
  • Brosnan,
  • Spike Milligan,
  • Stephen Boyd,
  • Brendan Gleeson,
  • Cillian Murphy,
  • Colm Meaney,
  • Colin Morgan,
  • Colin Farrell,
  • Robert Sheehan,
  • Saoirse Ronan,
  • Brendan Coyle and
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

One of the most significant national Irish media figures is Gay Byrne, who presented The Late Late Show from 1962–1999. There are several other Irish broadcasters of note who developed careers outside of Ireland, such as

  • Terry Wogan,
  • Graham Norton
  • Eamonn Andrews,

Famous Irish film directors include

  • Pat O'Connor,
  • Jim Sheridan,
  • Terry George,
  • Brian Desmond Hurst,
  • Neil Jordan.


Famous Irish singers and musicians have included-:

  • Gilbert O'Sullivan
  • U2,
  • Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738),
  • Catherine Hayes
  • Count John McCormack;
  • Enya,
  • The Script,
  • The Coronas,
  • Clannad,
  • Christy Moore,
  • Planxty,
  • Thin Lizzy,
  • The Clancy Brothers,
  • Tommy Makem,
  • The Corrs,
  • The Undertones,
  • Dónal Lunny,
  • Van Morrison, ,
  • Rory Gallagher,
  • Nadine Coyle,
  • Phil Lynott,
  • Gary Moore,
  • Sinéad O'Connor,
  • Bob Geldof,
  • Shane MacGowan,
  • David King,
  • The Cranberries,
  • James Galway,
  • Colm Wilkinson,
  • Johnny Logan,
  • Damien Rice,
  • Chris de Burgh,
  • Glen Hansard,
  • Kíla,
  • Jedward,
  • Boyzone,
  • Westlife,
  • The Dubliners,
  • Niall Horan,
  • Damian McGinty.

Ireland has produced many famous comedians, known both nationally and internationally. Many of them draw their humour from being Irish, or from their province, county or locality. Irish comedians who were born or raised in Dublin include

  • Dave Allen,
  • Frank Kelly,
  • Dermot Morgan,
  • Ed Byrne,
  • Andrew Maxwell,
  • Jason Byrne.
  • Colin Murphy,
  • Patrick Kielty, J
  • ake O'Kane,
  • Tim McGarry,
  • Conal Gallen
  • Ardal O'Hanlon,
  • Dara Ó Briain,
  • Neil Delamere, T
  • ommy Tiernan,
  • Deirdre O'Kane
  • Dylan Moran.
  • Pat Shortt,
  • Graham Norton,
  • Pauline McLynn

Comedians of Irish descent, born outside Ireland, include George Carlin, Des Bishop (who performed the first live stand up gig in Irish), Conan O'Brien, Stephen Byrne (broadcaster) and Jimmy Carr.

In sport, modern Irish figures include-:

  • Colm Cooper,
  • Peter Canavan,
  • Darragh Ó Sé and Pádraic
  • Joyce (Gaelic football),
  • Henry Shefflin,
  • Joe Canning
  • Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (hurling);
  • George Best,
  • Packie Bonner,
  • Richard Dunne,
  • Robbie Keane,
  • Roy Keane,
  • Shay Given,
  • Steve Staunton,
  • Pat Jennings,
  • Danny Blanchflower
  • Martin O'Neill (soccer);
  • Pádraig Harrington,
  • Rory McIlroy,
  • Graeme McDowell
  • Darren Clarke (golf);
  • Steve Collins,
  • Barry McGuigan
  • Bernard Dunne (boxing);

British and Irish Lions legends

  • Willie John McBride,
  • Keith Wood,
  • Brian O'Driscoll,
  • Paul O'Connell (Rugby Union);
  • Tim O'Brien,
  • Bt.,
  • William Porterfield,
  • Niall O'Brien,
  • Ed Joyce
  • Eoin Morgan (cricket);
  • Dame Mary Peters,
  • Eamonn Coghlan,
  • John Treacy
  • Sonia O'Sullivan (athletics);
  • Sean Kelly
  • Stephen Roche (cycling);
  • Michelle Smith,
  • Andrew Bree (swimming);
  • Dave Finlay, Sheamus (wrestling);
  • Brian Carney (Rugby League)