Top Five Irish Actors Taking Centre Stage In The US

Ireland is recognised for the art of storytelling; from folklore, to literature, to music, to acting. For years it has produced remarkable stage and screen actors such as Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy to name a few, and now it would seem that there are a number of up-and-coming young male and female actors following their suit and paving their own way with their own distinctive careers. With St. Patrick’s Day not too far away, it is worth taking a look at a few actors making waves across the Atlantic and hoping that this trend only increases as time goes on.

Irish Film And Television Awards - Arrivals

1. Saoirse Ronan

No stranger to the limelight, Carlow girl Saoirse Ronan has been on the radar for years since her starring turn as Briony in the movie adaption of Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Atonement’. It was this role that really kick-started her career and garnered her much earned attention, including an Academy Award Nomination.  Since then she has starred in numerous films and has worked with some of the most respected actors in the business, such as Susan Sarandon, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz to name but a few. And it would seem that Saoirse’s star will most certainly continue to rise if future projects are anything to go by. Her next appearance will be the lead role in the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the equally popular novel ‘The Host’ written by the author of the Twilight Saga, Stephanie Meyer. Her career growing from strength to strength, Saoirse Ronan is making it known that she is one to watch.

2. Colin O’ Donoghue

codHailing from Drogheda, Co. Louth, Colin O’ Donoghue has spent most of his life as an actor. A graduate from The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, he split his time between theatre and television work in Ireland and the UK appearing in many productions such as ‘Othello’ and ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ and stints on prominent shows such as ‘Fair City’ and ‘The Clinic’. From there he appeared in season three of the popular Showtime show ‘The Tudors’ as Duke Philip of Bavaria, but it was in 2010 when he made the dream breakthrough in his career winning the role of Michael Kovak in the horror film ‘The Rite’, acting alongside Hollywood legend Sir Anthony Hopkins. Now a regular on the hit television show ‘Once Upon a Time’ in the US, O’ Donoghue is gathering an extremely impressive fanbase as the infamous, swashbuckling Captain Hook; a role that no doubt signals his rise across the pond.





3. Jack Reynor

jrJack Reynor was a relative unknown in the acting sphere until very recently. Born in Colorado and raised in Co Wicklow, Reynor attended Belvedere College in Dublin, taking part in various stage productions. In doing so, he fed the interest in the art that had taken root in him since he was a child. It was not until his dramatic turn as the titular character in Lenny Abrahamson’s critically acclaimed film ‘What Richard Did’ that others began to take notice. The film, that follows golden-boy Richard Karlsen who has the world at his feet until a single act threatens to destroy it all, catapulted its young lead into dizzying heights and has opened many doors for the Irishman’s career. In January, it was announced that Reynor was cast in Michael Bay’s next ‘Transformers’ movie, beating out other, more well-known actors for the coveted spot. Not only that, but Steven Spielberg also showed interest and cast Reynor in his comedy, ‘The Delivery Man’. Watch this space.


4. Katie McGrath

kmcWicklow native Katie McGrath has her eyes set on the dazzling lights of Hollywood. However, acting was not something she had originally envisioned herself doing. McGrath attended Trinity College, studying History, and upon graduation got a job at Image fashion magazine before then moving on to work as a wardrobe assistant on the set of ‘The Tudors’. It was there where her curiosity was piqued and she decided to pursue acting. She earned small parts in numerous productions before being cast in her best known role to date as Morgana in the cult favourite, ‘Merlin’. In February it was learned that she had broken into the US market and landed a leading role in the upcoming US series ‘Dracula’ on NBC starring opposite Irishman Jonathon Rhys Meyers, playing the character Lucy Westenra. It is safe to say that the future looks bright for the actress.





5. Sarah Bolger

sbDublin girl Sarah Bolger burst onto the scene as Christy in the Jim Sheridan film ‘In America’, in which she starred alongside her younger sister. Bitten by the acting bug, she continued to pursue different types of roles and was subsequently cast in the films ‘Stormbreaker’ and ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ portraying the characters Sabine and Mallory respectively. Bolger also portrayed Mary Tudor in ‘The Tudors’; a role for which she won an Irish Film and Television award for, and from there her career has only been growing. Working Stateside, she has several films coming out soon, a recurring role on the hit ABC show ‘Once Upon a Time’ playing Princess Aurora, and has recently been cast in a lead role in the network’s single-camera comedy ‘Mixology’ in which she plays the sweet, younger sister of one of the main characters. Bolger’s enthusiasm for acting and her nuanced performances stakes her claim as one to watch out for in the future.


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