Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 5 MORE Irish actors and actresses to find on TV.


On Tuesday we discussed five Irish actors and actresses with whom you simply must spend this St. Patrick’s Day. And in case those actors and shows weren’t enough to keep you busy, here’s five more actors and actresses to add to your list of “must-watch” Irish stars!

Dylan Moran. Birthplace: Ooops, Middlesex, England. But he’s definitely Irish.

Oh, Dylan Moran. How I love thee. If I had to choose one British TV show to take on the desert island with me (okay, I could never take just ONE British show, but play along), it would totally be Black Books. Created by Moran and Graham Linehan (he of Father Ted fame), Black Books is set in a bookstore, run by the decidedly UNfriendly Bernard Black (played by Moran). In lieu of selling books he mainly keeps busy hanging out with his friend Fran (Tamsin Greig) and tormenting his employee and roommate, Manny (Bill Bailey).

It’s genius stuff, cranky and bitter and surreal and even filled with the best physical comedy ever.

And when you get tired of that, you should watch Dylan Moran’s stand-up comedy shows as well. I credit Moran with my favorite line ever about being in a relationship: “Are you going to be sane, or are you going to be not lonely?”

BONUS PICK: Graham Linehan. Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland.

He’s not really an actor, but he’s Irish and he gave us perhaps the best Irish show ever, Father Ted, as well as Black Books and The IT Crowd (starring Chris O’Dowd).

Caitriona Balfe. Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland.

I’ve not seen the entire series, but that’s more because I couldn’t handle the violence and then the even more violence (sexual in nature) in Outlander, based on the novel of the same name by Diana Gabaldon. But the episodes I watched were quite good, and that owed a lot to the mesmerizing (and, let’s face it, gorgeous) presence of Caitriona Balfe. Wow, is she good-looking. And Claire is not really an easy role to play, I don’t think: she’s had to portray herself as believably in love with two very different men. And she did! Well done, Caitriona Balfe.

Cillian Murphy. Birthplace: Douglas, Cork, Ireland.

How do I know Cillian Murphy is a fantastic actor? Because even when I’m not particularly enjoying movies I’ve seen him in (Disco Pigs, Red Eye, Batman Begins, you’re the ones I have in mind here), I watch them all the way to the end, largely just to keep watching Cillian Murphy.

So where should you start with Cillian Murphy? Well, he’s phenomenal in the BBC Two program Peaky Blinders, which, massive and disturbing amounts of violence aside, is a very interesting TV show (well, the first season more so than the second one, but the first season is very, very good). He’s not a very big guy and yet he just fills up the screen; you never doubt for a second that he is the head of the Birmingham crime family that he portrays. (I’ve read interviews where he said something to the effect of his wife is always a bit disturbed by him when he comes home from filming Peaky Blinders, until he begins to act less like his character, Thomas Shelby, and more like himself).

Murphy was also excellent in the BBC adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, and of course the movie 28 Days Later.

Aidan Turner. Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland.

Image from http://www.thebeachhaven.co.uk/autumn-in-cornwall/

And so we continue on with our tour, and this list is seemingly in danger of becoming a list of “Best-Looking Actors and Actresses in Ireland.” Besides looking like Aidan Turner, though, it should be noted that Aidan Turner is doing a very nice job portraying the ladies’ man, man’s man, man-about-18th-century-Cornish-town Ross Poldark in the current BBC adaptation of Winston Graham’s literary classic Poldark. He’s even managing to hold his own against some truly stunning Cornish landscape backgrounds.

I’ve not yet seen him in the series Being Human, about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost, but it’s definitely on my “to be watched–SOON” list. (Although it does look kind of scary, I’ll admit.

Dervla Kirwan. Birthplace: Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland.

Of course I have to end this list with one of the very first actresses in British TV that I ever fell in love with. Kirwan played Assumpta Fitzgerald in the drama Ballykissangel, and made an entire generation of viewers swoon with the romanticism of one of the most doomed relationship ever (Assumpta fell for Father Peter Clifford, her Irish community’s new parish priest, and no, I can’t tell you how it ends…just go watch the show already).

So there you have it. Ten fantastic Irish actors and actresses with whom to spend your weekend. Now: how about you? Who are your favorite Irish stars?



  1. I’d like to add “Breakfast on Pluto” to the Cillian Murphy list — it’s my favorite of his movies.

    And I really loved “Being Human” — so funny!! (Although I guess it isn’t really thought of as particularly a comedy.) And of course, the US knock-off version pales by comparison, like that’s a surprise.

    Thanks for getting our Irish up with this week’s posts! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, even if you don’t celebrate it.

    • Cardo!
      I wanted to add “Breakfast on Pluto” too but I haven’t seen the whole thing yet! I watched the beginning but it seemed like so many people were being mean to Cillian’s character that I just couldn’t continue. I don’t like people being mean to my Irish Favorites, even if it’s in service to the script! 🙂

      Yes, I’ve GOT to see “Being Human.” If only I had a month or year off to binge-watch all the British TV I want to. Thanks for the vote of confidence for the program–I’ll move it up the TBW list.

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