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Monday, March 17, 2008

My Favorite Men of Ireland

St. Patrick's Day is a good time to honor some of the wonderful, handsome, and talented actors born of Ireland. Not only are these men easy on the eyes, but they have also accomplished so much. From inhabiting memorable characters to writing and directing movies, this is a stellar group of men who come to us courtesy of that little green isle.

1. Colin Farrell
One of Ireland's most famous "bad boys," Farrell's off-screen drama often overshadows the fact that he's a charismatic actor. Remember when he had short hair and wasn't as skeezy? Sigh. I choose to think of him that way.

2. Cillian Murphy
This guy is really scary to me. I mostly associate him with really scary characters like The Scarecrow in Batman Begins and that psychopath in Red Eye. However, scariness aside, he's still clearly super talented. He'll be reprising his Scarecrow role in this summer's The Dark Knight.

3. Gabriel Byrne
Gabriel is brooding, quiet and dark. He pops up in movies and TV all the time and has had a long and distinguished acting career. He currently plays the therapist on HBO's In Treatment, which is kind of perfect. I would probably tell him everything he wanted to know about me if he stared me down

4. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
I have to say, sometimes his steady, creepy glare gives me the willies, but there is no denying Jonathan Rhys Meyers is one of Ireland's hottest, most in-demand young stars. While he may not look like the older, bloated King Henry often depicted in history books, I couldn't think of a more perfect young person to embody the smug entitlement of the main character in Showtime's The Tudors.

5. Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh is one of those really talented Shakespearean actors whose work is always top notch. Critics went nuts for his Henry V, which not only demonstrated his insane talent but proved that he's a master at bringing classic works to a contemporary audience.

6. Liam Neeson
Liam just kind of makes me go, "Awwww." I love him in roles like the dad he plays in Love Actually, though he is also a really powerful dramatic actor (see Schindler's List). And he may be one of Ireland's finest, but he's also the man chosen to bring American president Abraham Lincoln to life in Steven Spielberg's film.

7. Ciaran Hinds
Ciaran's that guy you drive yourself nuts trying to figure out where you've seen him before. He's one of those terrific character actors that you may have seen in little projects like, you know, There Will Be Blode, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and Munich. He'll next be seen in Stop Loss with Ryan Philippe.

8. Stuart Townsend
He's mostly known as Charlize Theron's better half, but this import from Ireland has a lot going on in his own right. For example, he wrote and directed a new film about the WTO protests in Seattle called Battle in Seattle. Plus, could he be any cuter?

9. Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan and his handsome smirk does a heck of a job with dashing, international spy/thief types. I loved the thomas Crown Affair and — though he's no Daniel Craig — he made one sex-ay Bond. Oh and I know what you're thinking: He's Irish? Pierce was born in Ireland, but moved to London at age 11. I'd say Ireland gets to claim him, at least some of the time.

10. Daniel Day-Lewis
This is kind of splitting hairs, but while Daniel Day-Lewis sounds British and wasn't born in Ireland, his dad was. Therefore he has dual citizenship and is eligible for a St. Patrick's Day salute to all his phenomenal work, like his roles in The Last of the Mohicans, My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father and There Will Be Blood, among many others.

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