Category: Archive

Sexiest Irish Stars

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Well, the tribe – that’s you guys – has spoken, and it has chosen the sexiest Irish people in the known universe. We’ve spent most our summer calculating the results, which will teach us to think hard before running a poll in future.

The vote was quite close, particularly for the top spots, but when all the ballots were tallied, stars Liam Neeson (550 votes) and Roma Downey (510 votes) were the clear winners. Could it be something in the water up north that makes people so darned good looking? Seems like a valid question to us, since Neeson hails from County Antrim and Downey was bred and buttered in County Derry.

Another Northie who made the top five on the men’s side is singer Brian Kennedy (No. 4 with 323 votes), who grew up in Belfast. Carrying the banner for the Irish capital are Dubliners Gabriel Byrne (No. 3 with 350 votes) and Mary Black (No. 4 with 242 votes), while Meath and Louth can claim Pierce Brosnan (No. 2 with 488 votes) and Andrea Corr (No. 2 with 406), respectively.

Americans also showed strongly in the voting, with fiddler Eileen Ivers earning 310 votes and Bronx kudos (you thought we’d slip and say "cheers," didn’t you?) for her third place finish. Aidan Quinn did the Midwest proud by snaring a fifth-place berth with 303 votes, as did actress/director Anjelica Huston (225 votes), who defies categorization: She was born in sunny California but spent most of her youth in the west of Ireland.

We won’t tell you where the others placed, though you should know that "Lord of the Dance" god Michael Flatley and former Miss Ireland, actress and model Olivia Tracey were barely edged out of the top five. Thanks to everyone for voting, especially Hilary Hartnett of Freeport, Maine, and Kathleen Burke of Pearl River, N.Y., both of whom will receive one-year subscriptions to the Irish Echo, plus a copy of the Saw Doctors CD, "Songs from Sun Street." And remember (now that we’ve all finished sizing up the talent: beauty is only skin deep. No, really.

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The Queen: Roma Downey

The angelic redhead from Derry first made her mark in the U.S. playing former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the miniseries "A Woman Called Jackie." She now stars as the sentimental sprite Monica in the hit CBS television show "Touched By An Angel." The newly single actress splits her time between acting duties and caring for her own little cherub, daughter Reilly Marie.

2 of Spades:

Andrea Corr

Lead singer of the Irish pop phenomenon The Corrs, Andrea is known as much for her sultry good looks as for her soaring vocals. She and her musically-inclined siblings are poised to conquer America (or at least, its music charts) with the release of their new album, "In Blue."

3 of Diamonds

Eileen Ivers

Bronx-born fiddle virtuoso Eileen Ivers (and her funky blue violin) wowed audiences as one of the founding members of Cherish the Ladies. She later went on to steal a bit of the spotlight during her solo numbers in "Riverdance," and now tours with her own band.

4 of Clubs

Mary Black

One of Ireland’s premier female singers, Mary Black got her start with the seminal trad group De Dannann back in the early ’80s. She’s enjoyed great success and international acclaim as a solo act, and was an early proponent of girl power, Irish-style as the organizing force behind the "Woman’s Heart" phenomenon.

5 of




She won an Oscar for her work in "The Grifters," but actress Anjelica Huston seems more inclined to follow in the footsteps of her famous father, director John Huston She earned the respect of fans and critics with her work both in front of and behind the camera in last year’s sleeper hit "The Mammy."

The King: Liam Neeson

When Ballymena’s favorite son was a young actor, dreaming of Hollywood stardom, he probably never thought that his face would someday grace Pizza Hut boxes and Pepsi cans. But thanks to his performance as a Jedi master in last year’s "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," Liam Neeson has cemented his status as a major movie star. Not that he limits himself to the silver screen: The hunky Irish heartthrob has starred on Broadway (in "The Judas Kiss") and his voice can be heard every night in the recorded narration for "Riverdance on Broadway."

2 of Clubs:



His dashing good looks and sophisticated brand of charm have left his female fans both shaken and stirred the world over, but Meath-born Pierce Brosnan is a devoted family man at heart. His current success in the role of James Bond was foreshadowed by the popularity of his early-’80s TV hit, "Remington Steele."

3 of Hearts

Gabriel Byrne

He’s conquered Hollywood in films like "Stigmata," Broadway in plays like "A Moon for the Misbegotten" and now Gabriel Byrne is set for small screen success with his upcoming ABC-TV series "Madigan’s Men." The darkly handsome Irishman will be splitting his time between homes in New York and Dublin – and he’s single, ladies!

4 of Spades

Brian Kennedy

The man with the golden voice is making quite a splash in New York City these days – both with his featured spot in "Riverdance on Broadway" and with his series of standing-room-only gigs at Arlene’s Grocery.

5 of Diamonds

Aidan Quinn

The man who could give Paul Newman a run for his money in the piercing-blue-eyes department grew up in the U.S. but spent his childhood summers in County Offaly. His body of work includes Irish-themed films like "Michael Collins," "The Playboys" and "This Is My Father," though long-time fans will recall his costarring stint with Madonna in "Desperately Seeking Susan."

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