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The Best Irish Actresses of All Time

Updated December 23, 2019 2.9k votes 699 voters 27.6k 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.
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  • Maureen O'Hara1
    213
    56

    Maureen O'Hara

    Miracle on 34th Street, The Quiet Man

    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...  more

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  • Saoirse Ronan2
    218
    60

    Saoirse Ronan

    The Grand Budapest Hotel, Atonement

    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...  more

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  • Fionnula Flanagan3
    116
    50

    Fionnula Flanagan

    The Others, A Christmas Carol

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Fionnghuala Manon "Fionnula" Flanagan (born 10 December 1941) is an Irish actress. For her...  more
  • Katie McGrath4
    92
    33

    Katie McGrath

    W.E., A Princess for Christmas

    BirthplaceRepublic of Ireland, Ashford, County Wicklow

    NationalityIreland

    Katie McGrath () is an Irish actress. In television, she is best known for portraying Morgana...  more

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  • Fiona Shaw5
    100
    46

    Fiona Shaw

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

    BirthplaceCounty Cork, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Fiona Shaw (born Fiona Mary Wilson; 10 July 1958) is an Irish actress and theatre and opera...  more

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  • Brenda Fricker6
    87
    38

    Brenda Fricker

    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, A Time to Kill

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Brenda Fricker (born 17 February 1945) is an Irish actress of stage and screen. She has...  more
  • Maureen O'Sullivan7
    77
    38

    Maureen O'Sullivan

    Hannah and Her Sisters, Peggy Sue Got Married

    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...  more
  • Sarah Bolger8
    67
    31

    Sarah Bolger

    In America, The Spiderwick Chronicles

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Sarah Bolger (born 28 February 1991) is an Irish actress. She has starred in the films In...  more
  • Ruth Negga9
    72
    37

    Ruth Negga

    World War Z, 12 Years a Slave

    BirthplaceAddis Ababa, Ethiopia

    NationalityIreland, Ethiopia

    Ruth Negga ( NAY-gə; born 7 January 1982) is an Ethiopian-Irish actress who has appeared in...  more

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  • Caitriona Balfe10
    47
    20

    Caitriona Balfe

    Super 8, Escape Plan

    BirthplaceRepublic of Ireland, Monaghan

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Caitríona Mary Balfe (born 4 October 1979) is an Irish actress, producer and former fashion...  more

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  • Evanna Lynch11
    83
    59

    Evanna Lynch

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    BirthplaceTermonfeckin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Evanna Patricia Lynch, (born 16 August 1991) is an Irish actress, vegan activist, voice...  more

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  • Geraldine Fitzgerald12
    54
    32

    Geraldine Fitzgerald

    Arthur, Wuthering Heights

    BirthplaceGreystones, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland, United States of America

    Geraldine Mary Fitzgerald (November 24, 1913 – July 17, 2005) was an Irish actress and a...  more
  • Orla Brady13
    49
    28

    Orla Brady

    32A, Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Orla Brady (born 28 March 1961) is an Irish theatre, television, and film actress born in...  more
  • Sinéad Cusack14
    48
    27

    Sinéad Cusack

    V for Vendetta, Eastern Promises

    BirthplaceDalkey, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Sinéad Moira Cusack (; born 18 February 1948) is an Irish stage, television and film actress....  more
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy15
    51
    34

    Maria Doyle Kennedy

    The Commitments, Jupiter Ascending

    BirthplaceClontarf, Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Maria Doyle Kennedy (born 25 September 1964) is an Irish singer, songwriter, and actress. With...  more
  • Bronagh Gallagher16
    40
    24

    Bronagh Gallagher

    Pulp Fiction, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    BirthplaceLondonderry, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland

    Bronagh Gallagher (born 26 April 1972) is an Irish singer and actress from Northern Ireland....  more
  • Alison Doody17
    41
    29

    Alison Doody

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, A View to a Kill

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityRepublic of Ireland

    Alison Doody (born 11 November 1966) is an Irish actress and model. After making her feature...  more
  • Nora-Jane Noone18
    30
    20

    Nora-Jane Noone

    Descent, Ella Enchanted

    BirthplaceGalway, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Nora-Jane Noone (born 8 March 1984) is an Irish actress. She rose to prominence for her debut...  more
  • Eve Hewson19
    17
    8

    Eve Hewson

    This Must Be the Place, Blood Ties

    BirthplaceDublin, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson, known professionally as Eve Hewson, is an Irish actress. Her...  more

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  • Brid Brennan20
    17
    7

    Brid Brennan

    Excalibur, Shadow Dancer

    BirthplaceBelfast, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland, United Kingdom

    Bríd Brennan (born 1955) is a Northern Irish actress who is known for her theatre work, she...  more
  • Patricia Driscoll21
    25
    20

    Patricia Driscoll

    The Wackiest Ship in the Army, Charley Moon

    BirthplaceClonakilty, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Patricia Driscoll (born 17 December 1927) is a British actress, who has appeared both on...  more
  • Niamh Cusack22
    12
    5

    Niamh Cusack

    In Love with Alma Cogan, Hereafter

    BirthplaceDublin

    NationalityIrish

  • Susan Lynch23
    31
    30

    Susan Lynch

    Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, From Hell

    BirthplaceCorrinshego, United Kingdom

    NationalityNorthern Ireland, United Kingdom

    Susan Lynch (born 5 June 1971) is a Northern Irish actress. A three-time IFTA Award winner,...  more
  • Peggy Cummins24
    26
    24

    Peggy Cummins

    Gun Crazy, Night of the Demon

    BirthplacePrestatyn, United Kingdom

    NationalityWales, United Kingdom

    Peggy Cummins (18 December 1925 – 29 December 2017) was an Irish actress, born in Wales, who...  more
  • Kerry Condon25
    24
    24

    Kerry Condon

    Unleashed, Angela's Ashes

    BirthplaceThurles, Republic of Ireland

    NationalityIreland

    Kerry Condon (born 4 January 1983) is an Irish television and film actress, best known for her...  more