Actresses The Best Irish Actresses of All Time  

Ranker Film
1.6k votes 418 voters 12.5k views 34 items

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

From the silent film era to modern Hollywood blockbusters, Ireland has a long legacy of fantastic Irish actresses who have made names for themselves and their country in the film industry. Ranked here are best Irish actresses of all time, the female actresses and movie stars who, whether playing Irish characters or not, have turned in many memorable performances and given life to iconic characters in many films.

Who are the best Irish actresses of all time? Young stars like Saoirse Ronan are giving older established Irish actresses like Fionnula Flanagan a run for their money, but who deserves to be at the top of this Irish actresses list? Great Irish actresses are all over Hollywood films, so it's time to decide who is the best of the best.

This list features the top Irish actresses of all time including Maureen O’Hara, Eileen Percy, Fionnula Flanagan, Susan Lynch, Danielle Wickworth, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Emma Ledden, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Fiona Shaw. Don't see your favorite actress from the Eire? Add her 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 actresses to have ever graced the screen.
list ordered by

1
137 26
Maureen O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man, How Green Was My Valley Maureen O'Hara is an Irish film actress and singer. She was first educated at the John Street West Girls' School near Thomas Street in Dublin's Liberties Area. From the age of 6–17 she trained ...more

2
113 23
Saoirse Ronan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement, The Lovely Bones Saoirse Úna Ronan is an Irish actress. She came to international prominence in 2007 after co-starring as Briony Tallis in the film Atonement with James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, for ...more

3
90 28
Fionnula Flanagan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Others, A Christmas Carol, Youngblood Fionnghuala Manon "Fionnula" Flanagan is an Irish actress and political activist.

4
55 19
Evanna Lynch is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Evanna Patricia Lynch is an Irish actress and model. She rose to prominence for her portrayal of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series, appearing in four films and their tie-in video ...more

5
60 26
Fiona Shaw is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Fiona Mary Shaw, CBE is an Irish actress and theatre and opera director known for her role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films and her role portraying Marnie Stonebrook in the HBO ...more

6
49 23
Maureen O'Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Hannah and Her Sisters, Peggy Sue Got Married, Pride and Prejudice Maureen O'Sullivan Cushing was an actress and a theater producer.

7
51 26
Brenda Fricker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, A Time to Kill, My Left Foot Brenda Fricker is an Irish actress of theatre, film and television. She has appeared in more than 30 films and television roles. In 1989, she became the first Irish actress to win an Oscar, ...more

8
38 20
Ruth Negga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
World War Z, 12 Years a Slave, Breakfast on Pluto Jane Ruth Negga is an Ethiopian-Irish actress known for her appearances in films such as Capital Letters, Isolation and Breakfast on Pluto, in the BBC mini-series Criminal Justice, RTÉ's ...more

9
33 18
Katie McGrath is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
W.E., A Princess for Christmas, Freakdog Katherine Elizabeth "Katie" McGrath is an Irish actress and model. She is best known for playing Morgana in the BBC One television series Merlin and also for portraying Jules Daly in ...more

10
31 18
Sarah Bolger is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
In America, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Moth Diaries Sarah Lee Bolger is an Irish actress. She is best known for her roles in the films In America, Stormbreaker and The Spiderwick Chronicles, as well as her award winning role as Lady Mary Tudor in ...more

11
33 20
Geraldine Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Arthur, Wuthering Heights, Poltergeist II: The Other Side Geraldine Fitzgerald was an actress.

12
33 20
Maria Doyle Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Commitments, Jupiter Ascending, Byzantium Maria Doyle Kennedy is an Irish actress, composer, singer, songwriter, musician, theatre artist, orchestrator and educator. She is best known for her role in The Commitments, and as Queen ...more

13
31 22
Sinéad Cusack is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
V for Vendetta, Eastern Promises, Stealing Beauty Sinéad Moira Cusack is an Irish stage, television and film actress. Her first acting roles were at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, before moving to London in 1975 to join the Royal ...more

14
24 18
Orla Brady is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
32A, Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise, The Luzhin Defence Orla Brady is an Irish actress.

15
20 16
Peggy Cummins is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Gun Crazy, Night of the Demon, Green Grass of Wyoming Peggy Cummins is a retired Welsh-born Irish actress, best known for her performance in Joseph H. Lewis' Gun Crazy, playing a trigger-happy femme fatale who robs banks with her lover.

16
23 20
Alison Doody is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, A View to a Kill, Major League II Alison Doody is an Irish actress and model. After making her feature film debut with a small part in Bond film A View to a Kill, she went on to play Nazi-sympathising archaeologist Elsa ...more

17
19 16
Bronagh Gallagher is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Pulp Fiction, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Sherlock Holmes Bronagh Gallagher is a singer and actress from Derry, Northern Ireland. During her teens she got involved, through school, in drama and music activities, and joined a local amateur dramatics ...more

18
16 15
Nora-Jane Noone is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Descent, Ella Enchanted, Doomsday Nora-Jane Noone is an Irish film and television actress best known for her role in The Magdalene Sisters, where she played Bernadette.

19
20 20
Susan Lynch is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, From Hell, Elizabeth: The Golden Age Susan Lynch is an actor from Northern Ireland.

20
2 0
Bríd Brennan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
jlent added Excalibur, Shadow Dancer, Dancing at Lughnasa Bríd Brennan is a Northern Irish actress of film, stage and television, best known for her theatre work. She originated the role of Agnes in critically acclaimed performances of Brian ...more

21
9 11
Dervla Kirwan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
bigcraig added War of the Buttons, Ondine, School for Seduction Dervla Kirwan is an Irish television and stage actress who has had roles in British television shows which included Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart among others. She also appeared in the ...more

22
13 16
Kerry Condon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Unleashed, Angela's Ashes, Intermission Kerry Condon is an Irish television and film actress. Best known for her role as Octavia of the Julii in the HBO/BBC series Rome, she also appeared in HBO's short-run but well-received series ...more

23
10 14
Dominique McElligott is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Moon, The Guard, Leap Year Dominique McElligott is an Irish actress, appearing primarily in independent films. She starred in Moon and the RTÉ series Raw before leaving to film Leap Year. She also played the female ...more

24
12 17
Kitty McShane is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Old Mother Riley's Circus, Old Mother Riley, Old Mother Riley in Paris Kathleen "Kitty" McShane was an Irish actress, best known as the wife and acting partner of Arthur Lucan, with whom she appeared in a series of Old Mother Riley stage shows and films ...more

25
15 22
Danielle Wickworth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Danielle Wickworth

26
11 17
Antonia Campbell-Hughes is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Albert Nobbs, Breakfast on Pluto, Bright Star Antonia Campbell-Hughes is a Northern Irish actress of English and Irish descent, best known for appearing in Jack Dee's sitcom Lead Balloon. After the success of series one of Lead Balloon, ...more

27
9 16
Orla Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Infidel, The Woods Orla Fitzgerald is an actress.

28
10 19
Emma Bolger is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
In America, Heidi Emma Bolger is an Irish teen actress. Her most notable role is in the 2002 film In America.

29
6 14
Patricia Driscoll is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Charley Moon, Woman's Temptation Patricia Driscoll is an Irish actress, who has appeared on both television and in films. She was born in Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland.

30
2 9
Caitriona Balfe is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Cindy Meadows-Lannan added Super 8, Escape Plan, Lust Life Caitriona Balfe is a fashion model and an actress.

31
11 22
Samantha Mumba is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
The Time Machine, Boy Eats Girl, Cross Samantha Tamania Anne Cecilia Mumba is an Irish singer and actress. She shot to fame in 2000 with the release of her debut single "Gotta Tell You", which reached the Top 10 in Ireland, ...more

32
10 22
Emma Ledden is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Emma Ledden

33
5 15
Valene Kane is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Jump, The Fading Light, War Games: At the End of the Day Valene Kane is an actress from Newry, Northern Ireland, known for playing Rose Stagg, the ex-girlfriend of serial killer Paul Spector, in The Fall on BBC2. While playing Miss Julie in the play ...more

34
7 18
Eileen Percy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Irish Actresses of All Time
Wild and Woolly, The Third Eye, Within the Law Eileen Percy is an actor.