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Famous People from Dublin

By Visit Dublin

29th January 2020

From poets, musicians and playwrights to actors, sportsmen and even the occasional loveable lion (all will be revealed!), Dublin's most famous people are made up of individuals with extraordinary talent.

If you’re preparing for a visit to Dublin, this list of ten of the city’s most beloved sons and daughters should help get you psyched. Who knows, you might even bump into one or two on your travels...

1. U2

This famous foursome hardly needs an introduction; Bono and the boys have been making music since they formed in Dublin in 1976. Over the years, they’ve topped charts and travelled the world; in fact, their 360° outing in 2009 was the highest-grossing music tour ever – beating the record previously held by fellow rock legends the Rolling Stones.

2. Colin Farrell

Though he’s now a bona fide Hollywood star, having appeared in acclaimed films like The Beguiled, The Lobster and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Colin has always remained proud of his roots. “Being Irish is very much a part of who I am”, he says. “I take it everywhere with me."

3. Sinéad O’Connor

Singer Sinéad shot to fame following the release of her spine-tingling 1990 hit, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’.  There have been controversies aplenty since then; in 1992 she took a pretty strong stance against the Catholic Church during a performance on Saturday Night Live by tearing up a picture of the Pope, and has remained outspoken since then via her Twitter account. Her latest album is the wonderfully-titled, I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss.

4. Oscar Wilde

Born in Dublin in 1854, this iconic poet and playwright penned classics like The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. However, he’s as known for these as he is for his witty quips; our favourite – “Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much”.

5. Conor McGregor

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Conor made his professional debut in 2008, and has gone – excuse the pun – from strength to strength ever since. He is the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight and lightweight champion and the most popular pay-per-view draw in UFC history.

6. Samuel Beckett

Born in Dublin in 1906, this esteemed avant-garde playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Having studied French, Italian and English at Trinity College, Samuel later spent time in Paris, and wrote both in English and French. His most famous work is probably the absurdist play, Waiting For Godot, while his legacy lives on in Dublin; there’s the Samuel Beckett Centre (a theatre in Trinity), and the more recent Samuel Beckett Bridge, which crosses the Liffey at Dublin’s docklands.

7. The Lion in the MGM logo

That’s right folks, the first lion to feature in the MGM studio logo went by the name of Slats, and was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. After he was brought to the States, Hollywood’s premier animal trainer Volney Phifer began to train him, and since Volney worked on several MGM films, Slats was the perfect choice to appear in the famous logo. Volney and Slats remained close until Slats’ death in 1936 – indeed, such was Volney’s love for the lion, he had him buried on his own farm, under a pine tree that he claimed would “hold down the lion’s spirit”.

8. Le Galaxie

Famed for their wild and energetic live shows, Dublin dance act Le Galaxie are one of the hottest bands in the country right now. Check out their latest album, electro stomper Pleasure, to get a taste of what they’re all about. Believe us, these guys are the real thing.

9. Maeve Binchy

Best-selling author and columnist Maeve sold over 40 million copies of her warm and witty books, which were translated into an astonishing 37 languages worldwide. A wry observer of everyday life in Dublin, Maeve sadly passed away in 2012. She has given countless readers worldwide immense pleasure through her many novels though; the most famous of which is probably Circle of Friends, made into a movie starring Chris O’Donnell and Minnie Driver in 1995.

10. Francis Bacon

Born in Dublin in 1909, figurative painter Francis Bacon is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His extensive body of work has been showcased at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and Tate Museum, and the Guggenheim in New York. In 1988, the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin secured the donation of Francis’ London studio, and set about relocating it as part of the gallery. Over 7,000 of the painter’s items can be found in there to this day.

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