Top 10 celebrities you probably didn’t know were born in Ireland

Many famous faces hail from this island but we bet you didn’t know these 10 celebrities were born in Ireland.

For such a small nation, the Irish people have managed to travel and settle in all four corners of the globe. For a country which has shared so much with the world, regarding its people and culture, many celebrities proudly claim they too, were born in Ireland.

The Irish diaspora across the world is enormous as between 50 to 80 million people worldwide claim to have some piece of Irish blood in them. Naturally, many celebrities are happy to honour or discover their roots.

In this article, we will look at ten people who were born in Ireland and have since become famous in other countries across the world.

10. Aidan Turner – the love-struck dwarf

Aidan Turner, known for playing Kili the dwarf, is one of our 10 celebrities you probably didn't know were born in Ireland.

Aidan Turner is instantly recognisable for his role as Kili, the dwarf who fell in love with an elf, in The Hobbit movie trilogy. Before he starred in the lands of Middle-Earth, Aidan was set to follow his father’s footsteps and become an electrician in Dublin. Aidan was born in the suburban Dublin town of Clondalkin.

9. Pierce Brosnan – Bond, James Bond

Pierce Brosnan is another celebrity you probably didn't realise was born in Ireland, I guess this makes James Bond himself, technically Irish.

Best known for his great portrayal of secret agent 007, or James Bond, Hollywood’s leading-man, Pierce Brosnan, is a famous actor/film producer. While he now possesses an immaculately recognisable English accent, Pierce Brosnan is originally from Navan in County Meath. He lived there happily until he was 11 when he went to live in Dublin with his mother.

8. Paula Malcomson – Katniss Everdeen’s mother

Known for her role of Katniss Everdeen's mother, Paula Malcomson is one of our 10 celebrities you probably didn't know were born in Ireland

Paula Malcomson is recognisable as Katniss Everdeen’s mother in The Hunger Games franchise, but despite her impressive American accent, she is actually from Northern Ireland (Belfast, to be specific).

Her role as Maureen Ashby in Sons of Anarchy was the first in her American career at being able to use her standard Irish accent.

7. Michael Gambon – we all loved Albus Dumbledore

Spectacular as Albus Dumbledore, Michael Gambon is another celebrity you probably didn't know were born in Ireland.

Michael Gambon is perhaps best known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter, one of his best performances in a long and glittering career that has spanned decades. Michael was born in Cabra, Dublin, in 1940 to an engineer father and a seamstress mother. They moved to London when he was five.

6. Des Lynam – the face of football

Des Lynam, the face of football, is another celebrity you probably didn't know was born in Ireland.

Des Lynam was known as Mr. Football, becoming the face of the game by hosting Match of the Day for 11 years. Des was born in Ennis, County Clare, in 1942 and moved to Brighton with his family at the age of six. Des went on to work with the BBC for over three decades.

5. Kenneth Branagh – the multi-talented actor

Kenneth Branagh is another top 10 celebrity you probably didn't know was born in Ireland. They just keep on coming.

While Kenneth Branagh has become known for his great adaptions of Shakespeare’s works, manifesting a flawless English accent, you might be surprised to find out the actor and producer hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Kenneth Branagh grew up in a working-class family in Northern Ireland, one he is proud of. He was once quoted as saying, “I don’t think you can take Belfast out of the boy.”

4. Bear Grylls – the rugged adventurer

Bear Grylls, the notorious adventurer, was born in Ireland and left soon after with his family.

The famous adventurer, explorer, and TV star was born in Donaghadee, County Down, in 1974 with the more common name of Michael Edward Grylls. He lived there until he was four years old when he went to live on the Isle of Wight.

3. Jackie Woodburne – the friendly neighbour

Jackie Woodburne, known for her Australian soap-opera appearance, was born in Ireland.

Jackie Woodburne is best known for her recurring role as Susan Kennedy in the famous Australian soap, Neighbours. It may come as a surprise to most to discover she was born in Carrickfergus on the outskirts of Belfast in 1956. Her father was an RUC officer who moved to Victoria, Australia, when Jackie was just three years old.

2. Sam Neill – known for running from dinosaurs

Sam Neill, dinosaur survivor, is another celebrity who was born in Ireland.

Most famous for his role as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, Sam Neill was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, in 1947 and lived there until his family relocated to New Zealand when he was six years old. Sam got the chance to return to his roots in an acting role in Peaky Blinders when he played the role of a Belfast detective charged to take down the infamous Birmingham gang.

1. Chaim Herzog – Israel’s former president

Another odd one, but Chaim Herzog, the 6th president of Israel, was actually born in Ireland.

Chaim Herzog is famous for becoming the sixth president of Israel, but a little-known fact about him is that he was born in Belfast in 1918. When he was a one-year-old, he moved to Dublin with his family where his father, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, became the rabbi of Dublin. Chaim emigrated from Ireland in 1935 and returned to Ireland in 1985 for a state visit from Israel.

If any other famous celebrities were born in Ireland that we didn’t mention, be sure to let us know!

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Conor Wickham is a writer from County Wexford with a keen interest in discovering everything Ireland has to offer. From sleeping in tree houses in the Ox Mountains to staying in shepherd huts in Donegal, Conor has experienced it. With a degree in Marketing & Advertising with Online Media, Conor has used his love of writing to guide his career path and has worked as a Website Content Writer/SEO Specialist in the past. When not exploring Ireland and finding out its secrets, Conor can usually be found hiking or working on his long awaited (long awaited by him at least!) supernatural thriller novel series.