40 Actors You May Have Forgotten Are Irish

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If there’s one thing Hollywood loves to do, it’s recruit film and televisions actors from the tiny Emerald Isle. While it’s known for being a place you can enjoy a good ‘ole pint of Guinness, Ireland was once the home to several major actors you might’ve never realized bear the country’s rich history. From the seaports of Belfast to the old Viking settlement of Dublin, let’s have a good craic and learn a bit of some very famous Irishmen.

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Liam Neeson

Fans can never forget the man behind blockbusters like Schindler’s List and the Taken film franchise. While he’s traveled all over the world for work, Neeson calls Ballymena in northern Ireland his childhood home.

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Gabriel Byrne

Dublin is more than just a famous city in Ireland. It’s also the hometown of some Golden Globe-winning actors, including one Gabriel Byrne.

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Pierce Brosnan

Who knew a version of James Bond can trace his roots back to the Emerald Isle? Brosnan was raised in the eastern town of Drogheda.

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Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh is more than just an Academy Award nominee. The actor and Shakespeare movie director can trace his childhood back to the good old days in his hometown of Belfast.

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Colin Farrell

With films like Minority Report, Alexander, and Total Recall under his belt, it’s no wonder why residents of Castleknock in Dublin probably have claimed their stake on the actor—it’s where he was born and raised.

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Robert Sheehan

The Umbrella Academy has cultivated fans worldwide, so viewers would not be surprised to learn the man portraying Klaus hails from Ireland, specifically, the town of Portlaoise at the center of the country.

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Allen Leech

Yes, the suburb of Killiney in Dublin is famous for producing musical greats (ever heard of a little band called U2?), but it’s also the hometown of a Downton Abbey star: Allen Leech.

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Jack Gleeson

Didn’t think the man portraying King Joffrey was born and raised in Westeros, did you? Lucky for Irish Game of Thrones fans, the county of Cork is where the actor grew to love his chosen profession.

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Devon Murray

Harry Potter fans will be happy to see this face. The actor famous for portraying Seamus Finnegan in the movie franchise comes from a small town in Ireland called Celbridge.

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Brendan Gleeson

Another Dubliner! The Gangs of New York and Harry Potter actor not only grew up in the popular Irish city, but also raised his family there once he got married…

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Domhnall Gleeson

…Including his oldest son Domhnall, whose most famous for roles in popular shows and films like Ex Machina, Run, and the final Harry Potter films.

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Aidan Gillen

Dublin seems to be the place where many actors are born and bred, including Aidan Gillen. TV fans might recognize him from more recent roles in Game of Thrones (hello, Littlefinger!) and the BBC One series Peaky Blinders.

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Paul Mescal

Hulu’s Normal People not only takes place in Ireland, but also casted actors who are native to its setting… like Mescal, who was born and raised in the university town on Maynooth.

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Kwaku Fortune

Like his Normal People co-star, Fortune also calls Ireland his motherland, growing up in Roundwood. Fun fact: the village is known for having an extremely small population—948 to be exact!

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Michael Gambon

One would think the actor best known for portraying Professor Dumbledore might bear an English ancestry, given his spot-on accent in the Harry Potter films. Turns out, Gambon calls Dublin the home of his childhood.

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Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

Yet another Dubliner in our midst! Along with a modeling career, Rhys Meyers is most famous for appearing in projects such as The Tudors, Elvis, and Bend It Like Beckham.

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Cillian Murphy

With popular roles in the Christian Bale Batman trilogy, Dunkirk, and BBC’s Peaky Blinders, it’s hard to forget the actor was actually born and bred in the county of Cork—specifically the village of Douglas.

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Fra Fee

As the Les Misérables actor prepares to break into the Marvel universe (he’s joining the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye), it’s cool to learn his acting career actually begins in his hometown of Dungannon in northern Ireland.

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Graham Norton

Who hasn’t seen a clip or two of the popular UK talk-show host at some point or another? But if you’re truly curious to learn a bit about him, Norton has roots in a suburb of Dublin called Clondalkin.

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Aidan Turner

It looks Like Graham Norton has a city brother in his midst—or at least in this gallery—as the Poldark star (and an actor in the most recent Hobbit franchise) also comes from Clondalkin.

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Chris O’Dowd

Fans may recognize the actor from films like Bridesmaids or Juliet, Naked, but after hearing him speak, there’s no denying the Boyle-born and raised star is undoubtedly Irish.

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Colin O’Donoghue

Who knew Captain Hook was Irish? The Once Upon a Time actor not only hails from the Emerald Isle, but his hometown of Drogheda actually straddles both Dublin and Belfast. Talk about fame at its finest.

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Jamie Dornan

It’s not just his overall physique which makes 50 Shades of Grey fans swoon. They’re also enamored with his overall Irishness, which was instilled in him via his hometown of Holywood in Belfast.

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Michael Fassbender

Okay—maybe Fassbender’s place of birth was technically Germany. But with growing up in Killarney, coupled with Irish roots dating back to the country’s War of Independence, the actor is certainly as Irish as they come.

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Colin Morgan

Merlin might’ve been a wizard in Camelot, but the actor portraying him in the popular BBC series certainly didn’t grow up there. On the contrary, Morgan’s hometown is well to the north of the country, in the town of Armagh.

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Jason O’Mara

It looks like Dublin is never in short supply of actors. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Blood of Zeus star is definitely no exception, with his roots stemming from the suburb of Sandycove.

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Stuart Townsend

And we have ourselves yet another Dubliner on this list! Although the Salem and Queen of the Damned actor might not appreciate being called that. Maybe it’s because he’s actually from a suburb of Dublin called Howth…

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Colm Meaney

The Star Trek franchise producers knew what they were doing when casting Irish-born Meaney as Miles O’Brien. And if you’re wondering exactly where on the Emerald Isle he grew up in, it’s no surprise to hear he was raised in Glasnevin, a suburb of Dublin.

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Michael Smiley

Despite developing a prominent TV and film career in the United States (if you want to count Black Mirror and Rogue One among his credits), Smiley can attribute his acting beginnings to his hometown of Belfast.

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Barry Keoghan

Would you be surprised to read the Dunkirk star calls Summerhill—aka a suburb in Dublin—his childhood hometown? At this point, probably not.

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