irish The Best Irish Actors of All Time  

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29.1k votes 2.4k voters 31.3k views 45 items

List Rules Male actors from Ireland, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.

Sure, Colin Farrell is a handsome bad boy, but what about all those other great Irish actors? This list of the best Irish actors of all time reaches back in film history to rank the greatest male actors to have ever hailed from Ireland. Hollywood just wouldn't be the same without Lawrence of Arabia and a whole bunch of James Bond films, and those movies wouldn't be what they were without a few of the top Irish actors ranked here.

Who are the best Irish actors ever? The land of Erin has given the world many good actors, who have played iconic roles, been part of blockbuster and classic films, and represented Ireland on the big screen for decades. Great classic Irish actors like Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris are listed here, along with more modern talents like Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, and Pierce Brosnan. Think of your favorite movie, and there just might be a good Irish actor starring as the leading man.

This list features the top Irish actors of all time including Peter O’Toole,  Liam Neeson, Noel Purcell, Tony Doyle, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Pierce Brosnan, Richard Harris, and Colin Kenny. Don't see your favorite actor from the Eire? Add him below so other film fans can vote. Then, be sure to vote and rerank the list according to who you think are the best Irish actors to have ever graced the screen.
list ordered by

1
964 139
Aidan Turner is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Denise Schult added Aidan Turner The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

2
546 761
Liam Neeson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Liam Neeson The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins, Schindler's List

3
376 727
Richard Harris is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Richard Harris Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

4
455 801
Pierce Brosnan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Pierce Brosnan Mars Attacks!, Mrs. Doubtfire, GoldenEye

5
405 719
Michael Fassbender is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Michael Fassbender Inglourious Basterds, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past

6
334 701
Peter O'Toole is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia, Ratatouille, Prometheus

7
361 742
Colin Farrell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin Farrell Minority Report, Daredevil, Horrible Bosses

8
308 623
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Daniel Day-Lewis Gangs of New York, The Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood

9
276 679
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
janolvegg added Sean Bean The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

10
240 662
Kenneth Branagh is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Kenneth Branagh Thor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Thor: The Dark World

11
238 636
Gabriel Byrne is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Gabriel Byrne The Usual Suspects, Excalibur, Enemy of the State

12
340 549
Cillian Murphy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Cillian Murphy The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

13
241 581
Brendan Gleeson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Brendan Gleeson Braveheart, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gangs of New York

14
226 566
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Jonathan Rhys Meyers Mission: Impossible III, Bend It like Beckham, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

1968: Irish Guy Buries Himself Alive On A Whim And Somehow Survives For 61 Days

15
154 543
Aidan Quinn is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Aidan Quinn Legends of the Fall, Practical Magic, The Mission

16
206 543
Sam Neill is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Sam Neill Jurassic Park, The Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park III

17
149 524
Michael Gambon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Michael Gambon Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

18
120 510
Ciarán Hinds is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ciarán Hinds Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Frozen, There Will Be Blood

19
164 484
Colm Meaney is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colm Meaney The Last of the Mohicans, Die Hard 2, Con Air

20
116 484
Liam Cunningham is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Liam Cunningham Clash of the Titans, War Horse, A Little Princess

21
136 417
Jamie Dornan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Lyn May added Jamie Dornan Marie Antoinette, Fifty Shades of Grey, X Returns

The Best Hangover Cures

22
143 442
Chris O'Dowd is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Chris O'Dowd Thor: The Dark World, Bridesmaids, The Boat That Rocked

23
119 451
Stephen Rea is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stephen Rea V for Vendetta, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Crying Game

24
132 422
Domhnall Gleeson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Domhnall Gleeson Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I, True Grit

25
65 421
Stuart Townsend is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stuart Townsend The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Æon Flux, Under the Skin

26
69 428
Barry Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Barry Fitzgerald Bringing Up Baby, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley

27
63 417
James Nesbitt is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
James Nesbitt The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Match Point, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

28
73 393
Colin O'Donoghue is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin O'Donoghue The Rite, Storage 24

The Incredible & Tragic Story Of Veronica Guerin, The Journalist Murdered By Irish Drug Lords ...

29
56 414
David Kelly is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
David Kelly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stardust, Waking Ned

30
46 394
Stephen Boyd is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Stephen Boyd Ben-Hur, Fantastic Voyage, The Fall of the Roman Empire

31
52 391
Robert Michael Sheehan is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Robert Michael Sheehan The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Season of the Witch, Killing Bono

32
49 366
Devon Murray is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Devon Murray Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

33
48 381
Patrick Bergin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Patrick Bergin Ella Enchanted, Patriot Games, Sleeping with the Enemy

34
34 374
Wilfrid Brambell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Wilfrid Brambell A Hard Day's Night, Witchfinder General, The Three Lives of Thomasina

35
30 368
Noel Purcell is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Noel Purcell Moby Dick, The Three Worlds of Gulliver, Mutiny on the Bounty

These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

36
35 348
Cyril Cusack is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Cyril Cusack Harold and Maude, My Left Foot, Far and Away

37
31 347
Tony Doyle is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Tony Doyle Ever After, The Boxer, Damage

38
29 342
Dan O'Herlihy is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Dan O'Herlihy RoboCop, RoboCop 2, The Last Starfighter

39
29 334
Colin Kenny is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin Kenny To Kill a Mockingbird, North by Northwest, Mrs. Miniver

40
25 327
Jim Norton is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Jim Norton Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Straw Dogs

41
23 330
Seán McGinley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Seán McGinley Braveheart, Gangs of New York, The General

42
23 331
Ray McAnally is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ray McAnally My Left Foot, The Mission, We're No Angels

43
20 325
Matt Moore is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Matt Moore An Affair to Remember, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Wilson

44
16 328
Brefni O'Rorke is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Brefni O'Rorke King Arthur Was a Gentleman, It Happened One Sunday, They Flew Alone

45
15 324
Owen Roe is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Owen Roe Breakfast on Pluto, Sensation, The Shadow in the North