10 Best Irish Film Actors

Wednesday, March 30 by Layla Sinclair

The 10 best Irish film actors each have a magnetic presence on the screen. They often play strong-willed Irishmen, but they also have the range to play Americans, Brits, and even Aussies. The actors below well represent the Emerald Isle. 

  1. Colin Farrell This bad boy Irish lad first wowed audiences in “Tigerland” and “American Outlaw.” In real life, he’s an outlaw in his own right, but certainly not American. He continued to impress with roles in “Minority Report” and “Phone Booth.” He recently took a bit of an actin break, but has returned with hit movies like “Crazy Heart.
  2. Daniel Day Lewis Known for his powerful performances, this film actor holds dual citizenship in Ireland and England, but identifies most often with the Irish. He has starred in a number of moving Irish films, including “My Left Foot” and “In the Name of the Father.” His huge American blockbusters include “Gangs of New York” and “There Will Be Blood.”
  3. Liam Neeson An Irish film actor hugely popular in America, Neeson has played Brits, Americans and even Germans. He is best known for his role as the title character in “Schindler’s List.” He also played a Jedi master in the new “Star Wars” trilogy. Recently, he has kicked major butt as a father searching for his missing daughter in “Taken."
  4. Cillian Murphy This excellent Irish film actor has really begun to hit his stride in the States. The actor first made an impression in Danny Boyles’ apocalyptic horror-piece, “28 Days Later.” Since then, he has become one of Christopher Nolan’s favorite actors to work with. He’s made memorable appearances in both “Batman Begins” and “Inception."
  5. Gabriel Byrne Byrne is very well known for his role In “The Usual Suspects.” He’s also starred in “Miller’s Crossing” and currently appears in the TV show, “In Treatment."
  6. Aidan Quinn Another fine Irish film actor who often plays Americans, Aidan Quinn rose to prominence for his role in “Legends of the Fall,” alongside Brad Pitt. He is adept at playing stoic, but strong characters.
  7. Jonathon Rhys Meyers This Irish film actor plays a very famous Englishman on TV. In “The Tudors,” Meyers plays King Henry VIII, an epic womanizer. He also had a great role in Woody Allen’s film “Match Point."
  8. Pierce Brosnan James Bond actually also has some Irish roots, since film actor Pierce Brosnan is really of Irish descent. Since putting 007 to rest, Brosnan has starred as another Brit, the prime minister, in Roman Polanski’s film “The Ghost Writer.”
  9. Stephen Rea This Irish film actor is probably best known for his role in the classic, controversial film, “The Crying Game.” He has also, however, had roles in “Interview with the Vampire,” “The Good Shepherd,” and “V for Vendetta."
  10. Stuart Townsend This Irish film actor may have talent, but he will be most well remembered for dating Charlize Theron. He got his start in America playing a vampire in “Queen of the Damned.” Since then, he has earned roles in “Trapped” and “The Best Man.”
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