10 famous Dubliners you need to know

Orange lights on musicians on a stage with the silhouette of a crowd.

From poets, musicians and playwrights to actors and even one loveable lion, Dublin is home to some truly extraordinary individuals.

This list of 10 of our most beloved exports will leave you in no doubt that Dublin is a city that changed the world.

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.


Bono and the lads need no introduction. Their epic journey to superstardom began in Dublin in 1976. From gigging in the city centre, they've gone on to top charts and break records worldwide. The fan curated U2: Made in Dublin exhibition at The Little Museum of Dublin is packed full of rarities like the original sign from McGonagles, where the band played in the early days. The band also recorded tons of music here, check out where the magic happens on a tour of the legendary Windmill Lane Recording Studios.

Media captionSee where U2 recorded much of their music at Windmill Lane Recording Studios.

Colin Farrell

He may be a critically acclaimed Hollywood star, but Colin is still proud of his roots. Having captured the hearts of a global audience with box office hits like The Gentlemen and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, he’s one of Dublin’s most beloved exports. You can also find him in the Dublin Wax Museum Plus, striking a familiar pose as Alexander the Great. 

Media captionGet a snap with a famous face at Dublin Wax Museum Plus.

Sinéad O’Connor

Nothing compares to our Sinéad. A much-loved singer songwriter from Glenageary, near Sandycove in south Dublin, she shot to global prominence in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. A string of hits and controversies would follow but her powerful voice has stood the test of time. Her song Nothing Compares 2 U was included in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Media captionFind yourself in Sinéad O’Connor's hometown.

Oscar Wilde

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde is one of the most iconic literary writers in history. Best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his incredible wit is still quoted worldwide 120 years after his death. There are countless tributes across the city to Wilde. Visit Merrion Square to find a statue as colourful as his personality in the park across from his childhood home.

Media captionStop by Merrion Square to see the Oscar Wilde statue.

Phil Lynott

The charismatic frontman for rock legends Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott is of one Dublin's greatest music heroes. The Whiskey in the Jar singer was a fixture in the city throughout his career and can be seen wandering across the Ha’penny Bridge and St. Stephen’s Green in his video for Old Town. His life has been immortalised by the famous Phil Lynott Statue on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street. Many fans from home and from abroad gather here for selfies and to pay tribute to a true Dublin icon.

Media captionTake a selfie with the famous Phil Lynott Statue on Harry Street.

Samuel Beckett

Esteemed playwright Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. His most famous work is the tragicomedy Waiting for Godot and his legacy can be seen all over the city. The Samuel Beckett Centre in Trinity College celebrates his importance to Irish theatre while museums like the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) pay tribute to his legendary writings. Perhaps his biggest accolade though is the iconic Samuel Beckett Bridge which crosses the River Liffey near Dublin’s Docklands.

Media captionWander over the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

The MGM Lion

That’s right folks, the first lion used as the MGM studio logo was a genuine Dub. Born in Dublin Zoo in 1919, Cairbre (later renamed Leo) was used on all black and white MGM films between 1924 and 1928. After making it big in Hollywood, he retired and passed away in 1936.

Media captionDiscover where the MGM Lion hailed from at Dublin Zoo.

James Joyce

James Joyce is one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. A proud Dublin man, his hometown provided the backdrop for most of his work and countless walking tours across the city showcase those very inspirations. Not to be missed is the annual Bloomsday celebration on June 16th, where the city embraces his masterpiece Ulysses. The James Joyce Centre in the heart of the city is a particularly popular dedication to his life.

Media captionVisit The James Joyce Centre to learn more about the iconic writer.

Maeve Binchy

Best selling author and columnist Maeve Binchy has sold over 40 million copies of her books worldwide. Hailing from the seaside town of Dalkey in south Dublin, Maeve was a wry observer of everyday life in the city and a remarkable storyteller. Popular with readers across the globe, she was renowned for her warm and witty style. Her work can be seen on the silver screen too, as her Dublin based novel Circle of Friends was given the Hollywood treatment in 1995 to critical acclaim.

Media captionTake in Maeve Binchy's literary inspiration in Dalkey.

Francis Bacon

Visionary painter Francis Bacon took great pride in his Dublin roots. Born on Baggot Street in 1909, his body of work has been showcased at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Guggenheim in New York. In 1988, the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin secured the donation of Francis’ London studio and over 7,000 of the painter’s items are showcased here today.

Media captionAppreciate Francis Bacon's work at Hugh Lane Gallery.

Experience all that Dublin has to offer

These icons may be stars but they’ll always be proud to call themselves Dubs. This is a city steeped in artistic tradition and there are so many unmissable events to catch on your next city break. Check out all the festivals and events happening in Dublin.