10 Beautiful Irish Actresses
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us again–the day when America tests its tolerances for alcohol, green dye, and the unbowed Irish spirit. While you’re celebrating venerable Irish-American customs like badly mimicking a Derry accent, fistfighting your loved ones, and writing lyrical poetry on the Hibernian mythos, don’t forget the most Irish tradition of all: not having sex.
Yes, for eons, Ireland has successfully avoided sex unless another farmhand was an absolute necessity. No other nation has proliferated at a ratio of four people produced for every one act of sex — and even that only during a full moon and after promising a priest not to enjoy it.
That’s why you can list eight rugged Irish actors for every one actress whose name has graced your ears. They can’t let anyone know Ireland’s female population has a wealth of skill and beauty, or else people might start getting ideas. Sexy, sexy ideas.
Too bad, greenbloods! We’ve uncovered ten talented temptresses you tried to keep hidden from us. And now to seduce them with our blinking, light-up shamrock pins and inability to perform sexually. Well, seduce the ones who are still alive, at any rate.
Hooray! She’s alive and gorgeous and starring as Lily Bell in AMC’s Hell on Wheels (above). The role is a major breakthrough on the west side of the Atlantic for the lovely Dubliner, who’s showed up in a few films over here, but is now in front of a large audience weekly. Remember when we told you to watch The Guard, and you didn’t listen? Well here’s what you missed:
Lingerie, that’s what. Funny, darkly comedic lingerie. And you…you just sat there thinking about football and KFC, never once suspecting the world out there ready to dazzle you with decollatage. You used to have dreams, Johnny. You used to be some kind of man a woman could believe in. But now? Now your future’s the same as your past.
…Woah! Where’d that come from? Sorry, it’s just that we look at a woman this fetching, and we realize we’re not working hard enough to earn her attention. Heck, we’re not even working hard enough to justify ogling her on the internet.
2. Nora-Jane Noone
She’s from Galway, and if all its gals look this way, we’d go all the way there to meet one. Remember her from The Descent? You probably didn’t do much ogling, in between all the scenes of spelunkers swinging pickaxes into crawly dudes’ skulls. Plus her character’s fairly injury-prone, and we don’t know about you, but profuse bleeding makes it hard for us to appreciate a beauty. But get her outside a cave, and she’s all woman. Besides having eyes that look like the moon went for a swim, she plays piano and dances. Well two can play the self-improvement game, miss multi-talented. Why, just this morning we practiced the kazoo and learned where Galway is.
3. Fionnula Flanagan
She’s playing moms everywhere these days (including The Guard. What will it take to make you watch it? You’re a coward, Johnny–afraid of your own happiness). But if you want to see a ridiculously ripe redhead, you can scout a copy of the miniseries How the West Was Won (not the John Ford film). She grew up in Dublin, speaking both English and Irish, played half a dozen roles in the “erotic masterpiece,” James Joyce’s Women, and is an Irish nationalist who’s supported Sinn Féin in Irish unity campaigns and elections, so…wow. That’s really, really Irish.
4. Evanna Lynch
Fifteen thousand girls auditioned to play Harry Potter‘s Luna Lovegood, and Evanna Lynch beat them all. Imagine how much easier the casting director’s life would have been if she had auditioned at the front of the line? Not bad for a girl who had only done school plays prior to that. She’s from the town of Termonfeckin, which sounds like a much better swear than municipal name. E.g. “Termonfeckin! We have to audition 15,000 girls today!” She designed her own accessories for her character–which…apparently people let you do on a multimillion dollar production? She’s universally beloved among Harry Potter fans, and does enough charitable work to save…well, not the planet, but probably the moon, if it needed it. She’s a better person than you is what we’re getting at.
5. Geraldine Fitzgerald
This Dublin damsel landed in Hollywood with the subtlety of a hydrogen bomb, earning an immediate Oscar nomination for playing Isabella in Wuthering Heights. Being Irish, she had about a pinkie finger’s worth of patience for BS, and she left it behind her an arm length ago. She’d turn down crap roles because of it, and get punished by studio heads for not helping them print easy money. She also had an affair with Orson Welles, because that’s what people did back in those days. And she wasn’t just some baby-faced beauty with loads of talent and no time for the crap; she was also an egalitarian who thumbed her nose at racism. Man, oh man, some dames is all class.
6. Maureen O’Sullivan
Fitzgerald’s lifelong friend since childhood (they were also friends with future English actress Vivien Leigh at an all-girls’ school in what must officially be the in the biggest waste of high school crush material in history). After finishing school, she went to Dublin to work with the poor — or as they were called in 1920s Dublin: Dubliners.
These Irish gals, they’re all about the public service.
Her most famous role was Jane in the Tarzan movies, even though she was praised for more high-minded work. Then again, she was also in the sequel to Ronald Reagan’s Bedtime for Bonzo, the decidedly Reaganless Bonzo Goes to College. That poor lady just couldn’t get away from the chimps. She was also Mia Farrow’s ma, which means she’s responsible for even more humanitarian work by raising her kid right.
6. Sarah Bolger
What’s shaking, Sarah Bolger? Still doing that “lifelong acting” thing? That’s cool, that’s cool. Listen, girl, before this As Cool as I Am film comes out and the whole world gets a crush on you, we just want you to know we had one first. Not too far first–good lord, that would be inappropriate. Just since, like, this year. Are you even old enough to drink in our country?
Miss Bolger, by the way, is best known for her work on The Tudors, but she’s been in a flurry of projects ever since. You’re free to look them up while we continue to smooth-talk her.
8. Katie McGrath
Miss McGrath hails from Wicklow, a county known for its gorgeous mountains, crystal-sweet accent, and silky, raven-colored hair…whoops! Sorry, got bewitched for a second, but that’s understandable, since she plays Morgana LeFay on the BBC’s Merlin. They dress her in peacock colors all the time, since that creamy Irish skin devours weaker hues to gain her power. Also, because she’s evil or something? But we ask you–can anyone attractive ever really be evil?
Like Bolger, she’s a Tudors veteran, though in her case the start was in the show’s wardrobe department. Show staffers suggested she try acting after the eighth time the camera disrupted filming by swinging away from the set and refusing to turn its gaze from her.*
*Possibly never happened.
Here’s a video of her geeking out about Star Wars, Firefly, The Simpsons,and Game of Thrones at Comic-Con. Gentlemen, start your nerd-crushes.
9. Alison Doody
You know her as Dr. Elsa Schneider, twice-over two-timin’ femme fatale from Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. She’s got a face you could fall in love with as many times as you have mornings left to wake up, and a body that would make Barbie jealous. All this, couched in modesty and ambition, making her way as a model and actress without doing any nudity or cheescake work. Sure, she betrayed both Drs. Jones, but come on–it’d be a crime for a blonde this gorgeous not to drink from the cup of eternal life. She’s just preserving art.
10. Maureen O’Hara
Come on, there’s only one crown on the top of this list, and it sits on a robust redhead. Born in Dublin, she’s everything America thinks of when it pictures an Irish dame — beauty, brains, and backbone. The only people who never lusted after her are colorblind folks, who can’t perceive green and red, and they still agree she was the loveliest person-shaped fog of grey it was their pleasure to meet. If Oliver Cromwell had known she would exist one day, he would have cut his Irish massacres back to two, three towns a week, tops. Good job being YOU, Ms. O’Hara!
Brendan McGinley is half-Irish and half-drunk.