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Top 10 Irish Actors

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These actors have more than the luck of the Irish on their side. These handsome men who hail from Ireland are a talented bunch - which, along with being Irish, was the basic criteria for making this Top 10 list. One other factor these men have in common is that they're currently working in films. Sorry, but no classic movie stars are included in this particular list.

1. Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell
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Born in Dublin, Ireland, hot-blooded bad boy Colin Farrell first received attention after starring in Tigerland for director Joel Schumacher. Other high profile films include: Minority Report, Phone Booth, S.W.A.T., Alexander, Miami Vice, New World, and In Bruges.

2. Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan
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Pierce Brosnan was born in County Meath, Ireland, but moved to London at age 11. Brosnan's tackled films of all genres (and he even has his own production company), yet he'll always be associated with one role above all others, that of the suave super-spy Bond, James Bond. Brosnan tackled that iconic character in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

3. Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy
© Elias Palma
Cillian Murphy has the most beautiful eyes and in person, Murphy's gaze is memorizing. But that's just one of the things that sets this actor apart. Born in Douglas, Cork, Ireland, his starring role in Danny Boyle's thriller 28 Days Later jettisoned him into the public eye. Other major films include: Intermission, Breakfast on Pluto, Red Eye, and playing Scarecrow in Batman Begins. And did I mention he has beautiful eyes?

4. Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson
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Liam Neeson's from Northern Ireland and has been acting in films since the late '70s. Nominated for an Oscar for his starring role in Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed film Schindler's List, Neeson's filmography is not only impressive but also eclectic. He's done comedy (Love Actually), a comic book film (Batman Begins), historical epics (Kingdom of Heaven, Rob Roy), action movies such as Taken, and even tackled the role of a Jedi Knight in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

5. Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
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Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born in Dublin and emerged as an actor to keep an eye on when he took on the role of glam rocker Brian Slade in the indie film, Velvet Goldmine. Meyers sang his way through that Todd Haynes film and then later went on to play rock and roll icon Elvis Presley in a made-for-TV movie about the famous musician's life, which earned him an Emmy nomination. He also earned rave reviews for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in Showtime's The Tudors (2007-2010).

6. Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne
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Another product of Dublin (there must be something in the water), Gabriel Byrne is well-respected and undeniably talented, yet he's never really achieved that A-list status he so justly deserves. Byrne's filmography includes starring roles in Excalibur, The Usual Suspects, End of Days, and Vanity Fair.

7. Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh
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Multi-talented Kenneth Branagh not only stays busy in front of the camera, but also writes, directs and produces feature films. A fan of Shakespeare's work, Branagh has brought Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, and Love's Labour's Lost to moviegoers worldwide. Shakespeare even influenced his work as director of Thor.

8. Stephen Rea

Stephen Rea
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As I'm putting together this list, I've just watched Stephen Rea turn in yet another scene-stealing performance, this time in V for Vendetta. Rea is more often found in supporting roles than as the lead, but as every actor will tell you, it's not the size of the role that matters. Rea proves that point time and time again.

9. Ciaran Hinds

Ciaran Hinds
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Ciaran Hinds was born and raised in Northern Ireland and inherited his drive to act from his mother, who was an amateur actress. The 1981 John Boorman movie Excalibur was Hinds' first major film. Other big movies include Mary Reilly, Oscar and Lucinda, Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, and Veronica Guerin.

10. Stuart Townsend

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Stuart Townsend has become part of The Lord of the Rings trivia as the actor originally cast to play Aragorn in Peter Jackson's trilogy. After rehearsing for the role, Townsend was released just two days before filming began. Depending on who you listen to, Townsend was either let go because they decided the part should be played by someone much older or there were 'creative differences' that couldn't be overcome. Enter Viggo Mortensen and the rest is movie history.
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