irish The Best Irish Actors of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
26.9k votes 2.2k voters 29k 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
875 112
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
506 712
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
352 673
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
424 749
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
374 664
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
309 645
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
331 689
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
261 626
Sean Bean is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
272 576
Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
222 619
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
221 594
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
227 541
Brendan Gleeson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Brendan Gleeson Braveheart, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gangs of New York

13
322 509
Cillian Murphy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Cillian Murphy The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

14
213 525
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

14 Famous People Who Have PhDs

15
141 506
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
190 509
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
139 489
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
111 474
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
153 451
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
108 450
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
135 409
Chris O'Dowd is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Chris O'Dowd Thor: The Dark World, Bridesmaids, The Boat That Rocked

11 Ways Ireland Has Been Totally Screwed Over Throughout History

22
112 422
Stephen Rea is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
117 385
Jamie Dornan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Lyn May added Jamie Dornan Marie Antoinette, Fifty Shades of Grey, X Returns

24
123 389
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
61 388
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
63 396
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
55 380
David Kelly is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
David Kelly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stardust, Waking Ned

28
59 384
James Nesbitt is listed (or ranked) 28 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

The Best Living Irish Actresses

29
68 361
Colin O'Donoghue is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Colin O'Donoghue The Rite, Storage 24

30
44 360
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
51 355
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
47 334
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
47 347
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
32 341
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
28 337
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

The Best French Language Poets of All Time

36
33 318
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
30 315
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
27 312
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
27 305
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
25 294
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
23 299
Ray McAnally is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Ray McAnally My Left Foot, The Mission, We're No Angels

42
22 298
Seán McGinley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Irish Actors of All Time
Seán McGinley Braveheart, Gangs of New York, The General

43
19 293
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
16 295
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
15 291
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