irish The Best Irish Actors of All Time  

Ranker Film
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29.9k votes 2.4k voters 33.4k views 48 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.

1
994 160
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
571 776
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
390 741
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
470 815
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
428 733
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
346 713
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
376 757
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
330 633
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
285 692
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
250 675
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
246 648
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
355 561
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
252 591
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
237 576
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

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15
158 553
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
211 554
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
153 533
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
121 521
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
169 496
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
120 494
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
145 430
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

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147 452
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
123 461
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
135 432
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
69 431
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
71 439
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
67 427
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
76 404
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 Best Living Irish Actresses

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57 425
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
48 405
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
51 376
Devon Murray is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
53 402
Robert Michael Sheehan is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
50 392
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
35 386
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
30 379
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

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35 359
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
3 2
Saoirse Ronan is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Rhandi Martin added Saoirse Ronan The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement, The Lovely Bones

38
2 3
Katie McGrath is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Rhandi Martin added Katie McGrath W.E., A Princess for Christmas, Freakdog

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1 3
Maria Doyle Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Rhandi Martin added Maria Doyle Kennedy The Commitments, Jupiter Ascending, Byzantium

40
31 358
Tony Doyle is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Tony Doyle Ever After, The Boxer, Damage

41
29 353
Dan O'Herlihy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Dan O'Herlihy RoboCop, RoboCop 2, The Last Starfighter

42
29 345
Colin Kenny is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin Kenny To Kill a Mockingbird, North by Northwest, Mrs. Miniver

43
25 338
Jim Norton is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
23 341
Seán McGinley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Seán McGinley Braveheart, Gangs of New York, The General

45
23 342
Ray McAnally is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ray McAnally My Left Foot, The Mission, We're No Angels

46
20 336
Matt Moore is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Matt Moore An Affair to Remember, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Wilson

47
17 339
Brefni O'Rorke is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
15 335
Owen Roe is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Owen Roe Breakfast on Pluto, Sensation, The Shadow in the North