Entertainment
783 voters

The Best Irish Actresses of All Time

Updated December 23, 2019 3k votes 783 voters 32.1k views36 items

List RulesFemale 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.
...more
  • 1
    Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man
    217
    57

    BirthplaceRanelagh, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland, United States of America

    Maureen O'Hara (born Maureen FitzSimons; 17 August 1920 – 24 October 2015) was an Irish and American actress and singer. O'Hara was a famous redhead who was known for playing fiercely passionate but  ...more

    #21 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History#79 of 243 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World#25 of 188 The Greatest Actresses Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)

  • 2
    The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement
    236
    70

    BirthplaceWoodlawn, New York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland, United States of America

    Saoirse Una Ronan (born 12 April 1994) is an Irish and American actress. Primarily noted for her work in period dramas since a teenager, she has received several awards, including a Golden Globe  ...more

    The Best Saoirse Ronan Movies#143 of 191 The Greatest Child Stars Who Are Still Acting#9 of 21 Famous Actors Who Played Famous Queens, Ranked By Regality

  • 3
    The Others, A Christmas Carol
    116
    49

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Fionnghuala Manon "Fionnula" Flanagan (born 10 December 1941) is an Irish actress. For her contributions to the entertainment industry, she was given the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in  ...more
  • 4
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    107
    46

    BirthplaceCounty Cork, Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Fiona Shaw (born Fiona Mary Wilson; 10 July 1958) is an Irish actress and theatre and opera director. She is known for her role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter film series (2001–10), as  ...more

    #49 of 185 The Best Living English Actresses#10 of 11 Our Favorite Quirky Interview Moments From The Magical ‘Harry Potter’ Actresses#70 of 81 The Cast Of 'Harry Potter': Where Are They Now?

  • 5
    W.E., A Princess for Christmas
    96
    40

    BirthplaceAshford, County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Katie McGrath () is an Irish actress. In television, she is best known for portraying Morgana on the BBC One series Merlin (2008–2012), Lucy Westenra on the British-American series Dracula  ...more

    #55 of 115 The Best Hallmark Channel Actors & Actresses Under 40#46 of 163 The Best Hallmark Channel Actresses#4 of 17 Who Should Play Catwoman?

  • 6
    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, A Time to Kill
    93
    38

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Brenda Fricker (born 17 February 1945) is an Irish actress of stage and screen. She has appeared in more than 30 films and television roles. In 1990, she became the first Irish actress to win an  ...more
  • 7
    Hannah and Her Sisters, Peggy Sue Got Married
    87
    37

    BirthplaceBoyle, County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Maureen Paula O'Sullivan (17 May 1911 – 23 June 1998) was an Irish-American actress best known for playing Jane in the Tarzan series of films starring Johnny Weissmuller.  ...more

    #65 of 80 The Hottest Classic Actresses#471 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 8
    World War Z, 12 Years a Slave
    77
    42

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Ruth Negga ( NAY-gə; born 7 January 1982) is an Ethiopian-Irish actress who has appeared in the films Capital Letters (2004) (also released as Trafficked in some countries), Isolation (2005),  ...more

    #185 of 201 The Best Actresses Working Today#36 of 60 The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40#113 of 214 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time

  • 9
    In America, The Spiderwick Chronicles
    66
    36

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Sarah Bolger (born 28 February 1991) is an Irish actress. She has starred in the films In America, Stormbreaker, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Emelie. She is also known for her role as Lady Mary  ...more
  • 10
    Arthur, Wuthering Heights
    57
    34

    BirthplaceGreystones, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Geraldine Mary Fitzgerald (November 24, 1913 – July 17, 2005) was an Irish actress and a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.  ...more
  • 11
    Cindy Meadows-Lannan addedSuper 8, Escape Plan
    49
    28

    BirthplaceRepublic of Ireland, Monaghan

    NationalityIreland

    Caitríona Mary Balfe (born 4 October 1979) is an Irish actress, producer and former fashion model. She is best known for her starring role as Claire Fraser in the Starz drama series Outlander  ...more
  • 12
    The Commitments, Jupiter Ascending
    57
    37

    BirthplaceDublin, Clontarf, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Maria Doyle Kennedy (born 25 September 1964) is an Irish singer, songwriter, and actress. With a singing and acting career that has spanned nearly 30 years, she has established herself as one of  ...more
  • 13
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    82
    64

    BirthplaceTermonfeckin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Evanna Patricia Lynch, (born 16 August 1991) is an Irish actress, vegan activist, voice actress and narrator. She rose to prominence for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series,  ...more

    #20 of 289 The Best 'Dancing With The Stars' Contestants, Ranked#11 of 12 12 Times Puberty Was Really Good To Nerdy Child Actors#11 of 13 What The 'Harry Potter' Cast Thinks Of The Franchise

  • 14
    V for Vendetta, Eastern Promises
    48
    30

    BirthplaceRepublic of Ireland, Dalkey

    NationalityIreland

    Sinéad Moira Cusack (; born 18 February 1948) 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  ...more
  • 15
    32A, Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise
    48
    32

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Orla Brady (born 28 March 1961) is an Irish theatre, television, and film actress born in Dublin. She has been nominated for several awards from the Irish Film & Television Academy for her work in  ...more
  • 16
    Pulp Fiction, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    39
    28

    BirthplaceDerry, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland

    Bronagh Gallagher (born 26 April 1972) is an Irish singer and actress from Northern Ireland. Gallagher had her first acting role in the 1989 television movie Dear Sarah.  ...more
  • 17
    Descent, Ella Enchanted
    31
    24

    BirthplaceGalway, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Nora-Jane Noone (born 8 March 1984) is an Irish actress. She rose to prominence for her debut role in The Magdalene Sisters (2002). Her other notable roles were in The Descent (2005) and Brooklyn  ...more
  • 18
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, A View to a Kill
    39
    35

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Alison Doody (born 11 November 1966) is an Irish actress and model. After making her feature film debut with a small part in Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), she went on to play Nazi-sympathising  ...more
  • 19
    Deanna Torres addedThis Must Be the Place, Blood Ties
    21
    13

    BirthplaceDublin, Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson, known professionally as Eve Hewson, is an Irish actress. Her first major role was in the 2011 film This Must Be the Place.  ...more

    #39 of 46 The Best Irish Actresses Working Today#10 of 26 The Best Living Irish Actresses#44 of 60 Famous People with Long Names

  • 20
    The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Charley Moon
    25
    21

    BirthplaceRepublic of Ireland, Clonakilty

    NationalityIreland

    Patricia Driscoll (born 17 December 1927) is a British actress, who has appeared both on television and in films. According to her birth certificate she was born in Lexham Gardens, Kensington,  ...more
  • 21
    Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, From Hell
    32
    32

    BirthplaceCorrinshego, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland, United Kingdom

    Susan Lynch (born 5 June 1971) is a Northern Irish actress. A three-time IFTA Award winner, she also won the British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 2003 film, 16 Years of  ...more
  • 22
    jlent addedExcalibur, Shadow Dancer
    17
    13

    BirthplaceBelfast, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland, United Kingdom

    Bríd Brennan (born 1955) is a Northern Irish actress who is known for her theatre work, she originated the role of Agnes in the Brian Friel play Dancing at Lughnasa, for which she won the 1992 Tony  ...more
  • 23
    Gun Crazy, Night of the Demon
    26
    25

    BirthplacePrestatyn, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Peggy Cummins (18 December 1925 – 29 December 2017) was an Irish actress, born in Wales, who is best known for her performance in Joseph H. Lewis's Gun Crazy (1950), playing a trigger-happy femme  ...more
  • 24
    Unleashed, Angela's Ashes
    24
    24

    BirthplaceThurles, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Kerry Condon (born 4 January 1983) is an Irish television and film actress, best known for her role as Octavia of the Julii in the HBO/BBC series Rome, as Stacey Ehrmantraut in AMC's Better Call  ...more
  • 25
    pcusack addedIn Love with Alma Cogan, Hereafter
    12
    8

    BirthplaceDublin

    NationalityIrish

not on the list?add item #37add new item
List Rules: Female actresses from Ireland, dead or alive. Vote based on their entire body of work.