Northern Ireland Famous people

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Van Morrison (born 1945), rock musician, singer and composer

Gary Moore (born 1952), rock and blues guitarist

Van Morrison

Natural scientist

Thomas Andrews (1813-1885)
physicist and chemist. Thomas Andrews was born in Belfast in 1813 and completed a long student career, including in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paris. The later member of the London Royal Society (from 1849) practiced at the same time as a medic and taught as a chemistry professor in Belfast. His research and knowledge in the field of ozone and gas liquefaction were remarkable. Andrews died in his hometown in 1885.

John Stewart Bell (1928-1990)
physicist. John Stewart Bell was born in Belfast in 1928, where he studied physics. His field was quantum physics. His most famous work is called “Six Possible Worlds of Quantum Mechanics”. In 1964 he made his most important discovery, which was also named after him: Bell’s inequality. It deals with mean values ​​for measurement data and their limitation. Bell died in 1990 in Geneva, where he previously worked at CERN.

Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912)
physicist. Osborne Reynolds was born in Belfast in 1842 and studied mathematics at Cambridge. He later emigrated to Great Britain, where he would make his greatest discovery. The Reynolds number named after him. This is a key figure to determine so-called frictional flow processes. The physicist also conducted research in the area of ​​turbulence. Reynolds, who was a member of the famous Royal Society from 1877, died in Somerset in 1912.

William Thomson alias Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
The physicist, who was born in Belfast and later emigrated to England, conducted research in a wide variety of fields of physics and received over 70 patents during his life. In 1866 the physics professor at Glasgow University was knighted for his many services. With the magnificent title of 1st Baron Kelvin of Largs, he rose to hereditary nobility. According to Thomson z. B. named the Kelvin scale for temperature. He died in Netherhall, Scotland, in 1907.

Politicians and rulers

Betty Williams (born 1943), Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Peace
Activist In 1976, she and Mairead Corrigan-Maguire received the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Northern Irish organization “Community of Peace People”

Mairead Corrigan-Maguire (born 1944), activist of the Northern Irish Peace Movement In
1976, she and Betty Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize.
John Hume (born 1937), politician
The chairman and co-founder of the SDLP, which works for the reunification of Ireland without violence, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 together with David Trimble for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland conflict.

Ian Paisley (born 1926), politician, co-founder of the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), Protestant pastor and extreme enemy of Catholics.
William David Trimble (born 1944), politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

Bobby Sands (1954-1981), Northern Irish Resistance Fighter
The hugely popular resistance fighter of the Irish Republican Movement was elected Member of the House of Commons while serving his sentence. He died as a result of a hunger strike.

Writer and poet

Ciaran Gerard Carson (born 1948)
Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. His father worked as a postman. Carson studied at Queen’s University of Belfast, where he was later appointed professor. His poetry in particular made him famous. His debut “The New Estate” (1976) has already received an award. Carson won the Irish Literature Prize for Poetry with the volume of poetry “Belfast Confetti” (1990). Belfast always appears as a theme in his detailed works. The prose works include “Fishing for Amber” and “Shamrock Tea”. Carson managed the balancing act between the traditional Irish narrative perspective and global postmodernism

Brian Friel (born 1929)
playwright. Brian Friel was born in Omagh in 1929 as the son of a teacher and is considered one of the most important modern English-speaking playwrights. He has written numerous plays and achieved his international breakthrough in 1964 with “Philadelphia, I’m Here!”, Which was also made into a film. The member of the British Royal Society of Literature also wrote the work “Lughnasa Zeit des Tanzes” (1990), which was filmed in 1998 with Meryl Streep.

John Hewitt (1907-1987)
pioneer of literary regionalism. John Harold Hewitt was born in Belfast in 1907 and rose to become one of the greatest Irish poets of the 20th century. In his text “A Poet’s Place”, which contains a declaration of love for Northern Ireland, it says: “I have turned to the landscape because people let me down”. The Universities of Ulster and Belfast awarded him an honorary doctorate. Hewitt died in Belfast in 1987.

CS Lewis (1898-1963)
writer and literary scholar. Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898 and died in Oxford in 1963, where he previously taught at Magdalen College. Most famous are his fantasy novels “Chronicles of Narnia”, which he published in 1934-1950. The children’s books were also filmed successfully. One of his most famous quotes comes from the book “The Abolition of Man” and reads: “If you see everything, you can no longer see anything”.

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)
writer and poet. Frederick Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast in 1907, the son of a minister. He studied classical philology at Oxford and later taught at the University of Birmingham. He made his debut in 1929 with the volume of poetry “Blind Fireworks”. Radio plays, essays and a translation of Goethe’s “Faust” (1951) followed. Only his work “Astrology” was completely translated into German, although it is not one of his most important. Macneice died of pneumonia in London in 1963.

Brian Moore (1921-1999)
Irish-Canadian novelist and screenwriter. Brian Moore was born in Belfast in 1921, the son of a surgeon. The writer later moved to Canada, where he received citizenship in 1948, and later to California after Hitchcock asked him to write the script for “Torn Curtain”. His first novel, ” The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne” (1956), was refined with the Guggenheim grant. Moore was also honored with several literary prizes, including the “Hughes Irish Fiction Award” in 1988. He died in 1999 in Malibu, California.

Paul Muldoon (born 1951)
poet. Muldoon was born in Portadown in 1951 and studied at Queen’s University of Belfast. The 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry has taught creative writing and poetry at various universities. Song lyrics for bands like “The Handsome Family” are also part of Muldoon’s repertoire. His ballads, sonnets and texts from the experimental poetry genre cover a wide range of topics, including politics. Muldoon is also head of the poetry department at the “New Yorker”

Actors and directors

Kenneth Branagh (born 1960)
actor and director. Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh was born in Belfast in 1960 and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He achieved international fame through several Shakespeare films such as “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993) or “Hamlet” (1996). Branagh also impressed on television with the lead role in Mankell’s “Wallander”. The five-time Oscar nominee also received the accolade of Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.

Brid Brennan (born 1955)
Brid Brennan was born in Belfast in 1955 and began her acting career at the Dublin Theater. She made her film debut in 1981 in “Excalibur”, where she stood in front of the camera with Helen Mirren. She keeps returning to the theater stage and has already received several awards, including the Tony Award for her role in the play “Lughnasa – Time of Dance”.

Una O’Connor (1880-1959)
Agnes Teresa McGlade was born in Belfast in 1880. In Dublin she first played in the theater, then went to London and landed successfully on Broadway in New York. O’Connor also starred in Hitchcock films and popular films such as “David Copperfield” (1935). She played her last role in an Agatha Christie film adaptation of “Witness for the Prosecution” (1957), where she mimes the somewhat weird housekeeper. O’Connor died in New York in 1959 without children and without children.

Jamie Dornan (born 1982)
actor, musician, model. Jamie Dornan was born in Belfast in 1982. His father is an obstetrician, and his acting aunt has already won an Oscar. Dornan, who had a relationship with actress Keira Knigtley, is best known from the successful fairy tale series “Once Upon a Time”, which has been broadcast since 2011. Many will also have noticed him as a model for Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Dior. Dornan’s first film was “Marie Antoinette” (2006).

Damian O’Hare (born 1977)
Damian O’Hare was born in Belfast in 1977, where he already appeared in the Simple Minds video for “Belfast Child” as a young boy. He later graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. O’Hare has only appeared in two films, but these have been major international hits: “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2003) and “Pirates of the Caribbean” “(2011).
Ciarán Hinds (born 1953)
Ciarán Hinds was born in Belfast in 1953 to an actress and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He gave up his previously started law degree. Hind’s roles range from Shakespeare performances (“Richard III”) to historical event films such as “Munich” (2005) to world successes such as “Road to Perdition” (2002) and “Harry Potter” (2011).

Siobhán McKenna (1923-1986)
Siobhán Giollamhuire Nic Cionnaith was born in Belfast in 1923. In later years she went to the theater in London, where she was so successful that Broadway called. McKenna only appeared in a few films, but these have become true classics. So she got a role in “Doctor Schiwago” (1965) and in “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1984). For her acting engagement, she earned two nominations for the popular Tony Award. Mckenna died in Dublin in 1986.

Patricia Quinn (born 1944)
actress, singer. Patricia Quinn was born in Belfast in 1944 and started out as a series actress on television. The breakthrough came with the musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), in which she played the magenta. This was followed by engagements in the Monty Python classic “The Meaning of Life” (1983) and in the box office hit “Immer Drama um Tamara” (2010).

Stephen Rea (born 1946)
Stephen Rea was born in Belfast in 1946. His breakthrough came in the role of Fergus in Neil Jordan’s masterpiece “The Crying Game”, for which he was rewarded with an Oscar nomination in 1993. Masterpieces such as “Interview with a Vampire” (1994) or “The Good Shepherd” (2004) are also part of Rea’s repertoire. The actor has two sons.

Zara Turner (born 1968)
Zara Turner was born in Belfast in 1968 and first made a name for herself in the television series “Love Hurts”. She already had resounding success on the big screen with her second film “She loves him – she doesn’t love him” (1998), where she stood in front of the camera with Gwyneth Paltrow. This was followed by TV films and series such as “Touch and Go” (1998) or “Anytime Now”. It will be interesting to see what is to come.


Elizabeth Shaw (1920 to 1992), graphic artist and children’s book author in Berlin, who was
born in Belfast, met the painter René Graetz in England, with whom she moved to Berlin in 1946. There she was best known as a children’s book author and received numerous prizes and awards.
John Toland (1670 to 1722), free thinker
He emigrated first to England and later to Germany.

William Mulholland (1855 to 1935), hydraulic engineer in Southern California
The northern Irish who emigrated created the water supply system for the city of Los Angeles that is still functioning today.


Dave Finlay (born 1958), wrestler
The Northern Irish wrestler gained great popularity in the USA.
Barry Mc Guigan (born 1961), 1980 world boxing champion
John Marshall Watson (born 1946), racing car driver
The Formula 1 racing driver became vice world champion in 1982.
Edmund (Eddie) Irvine b. 1965), car racing driver
The Formula 1 racing driver became vice world champion in 1999.

George Best

(1946 to 2005), soccer player
He was considered one of the world’s best soccer players in the late sixties and early seventies.

Theologians and philosophers

Patrick of Ireland (approx. 389 to 461)
The “national saint” of Ireland and Iceland originally came from Wales and was deported to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. After his escape he spent twelve years in a monastery in Auxerre (France), where he was trained as a priest. He then went back to Ireland, founded numerous schools, monasteries and churches and converted the entire country to Christianity. He was said to have had a number of miracles, but the Roman Catholic Church has not yet been canonized. The anniversary of his death, St. Patrick’s Day, is now also celebrated as the country’s national holiday.

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