The Very Best in a Land of Legends

Article excerpt

SOCCER genius George Best comes higher - at No12 - in a new list of the top 50 Irishmen than other legends like world-famous writer James Joyce (No25). A new book, published in time for St Patrick's Day on March 17, has compiled the definitive list of the top 100 Irish men and women of all time. The country's patron saint tops the list by Irish historian Peter Costello, with James Joyce, David Trimble, JFK and Van Morrison featuring too. Here we present the top 50 names in order...

1

ST PATRICK 389-461 AD Introduced Christianity after being kidnapped by Irish pirates.

2

EAMON DE VALERA 1882-1975 Spared after the 1916 Easter Rising. First President of Republic.

3

MICHAEL COLLINS 1890-1922 Masterminded guerrilla war against the British from 1919-21.

4

JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY 1917-1963 First Catholic U.S. President. Great-grandparents Irish.

5

CHARLES STEWART PARNELL 1846-1891 Led Home Rule group of Irish MPs in the Commons.

6

MARY ROBINSON 1944- In 1990 became Ireland's first woman President..

7

PATRICK HENRY PEARSE 1879-1916 Set up Gaelic League to revive Irish. Killed in Easter Rising.

8

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS 1865-1939 First Irishman to win Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

9

JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY 1844-1890 Influential poet. Deported to Australia in 1867. Died in Boston.

10

SEAMUS HEANEY 1939- In 1995 the teacher and poet won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

11

WOLFE TONE 1763-1798 Lawyer who led a French-backed invasion of Ireland in 1798.

12

GEORGE BEST 1946- Soccer genius from Belfast. Scored in Man Utd's 1968 European Cup win.

13

GEORGE BOOLE 1815-1864

English-born scientist. Theories aided modern computer revolution.

14

SEAN LEMASS 1899-1971 Economist argued escape from poverty lay in modernising cities.

15

JAMES CRAIG 1871-1940 As Lord Craigavon was first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1921.

16

JAMES CONNOLLY 1868-1916 Founded socialist paper Workers' Republic. Executed after Easter Rising.

17

BRIAN BORU 941-1014 Legendary warrior king broke Viking stranglehold on the island.

18

ALFRED HARMSWORTH 1865-1922 Dublin-born Press baron owned the Mirror, Mail and Times.

19

EDMUND RICE 1762-1844 Founded teaching orders the Christian and Presentation Brothers.

20

DANIEL O'CONNELL 1775-1847 Creator of modern Irish democracy. Great popular leader.

21

ARTHUR GUINNESS 1725-1803 Founded Dublin brewery still world-renowned for its dark stout.

22

SYBIL CONNOLLY 1921-1998 Fashion designer dressed royals and US First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

23

THOMAS DAVIS 1814-1845 Co-founded Dublin's Nation newspaper, famed for liberal views.

24

MICHAEL DAVITT 1846-1906 Nationalist jailed in 1867 for trying to seize Chester Castle. …