Colin Morgan

as Seán MacDiarmada

Colin Morgan’s first major screen role was playing the lead in the hit BBC TV series Merlin which also screened on SyFy in the USA. His brilliant performance over 5 seasons brought him a National TV Award and began his journey towards becoming a much respected and much sought after actor. His next major TV role was with fellow Irish actor Gabriel Byrne in the BBC detective Series Quirke.This year, the Independent Newspaper in London voted him the One to Watch in 2015 and he has lived up to this accolade with leading roles in the sci-fi series Humans for AMC/Channel 4 with William Hurt and The Fall playing the new love interest of Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) Colin is currently filming The Living and The Dead in the English West Country. Born in Northern Ireland, Colin has a background in theatre debuting in 2007 on London’s West End in the title role in DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little. His other theatre performances include Shakespeare at the Globe where he acted as Ariel in The Tempest, Pedro Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre and more recently in Mojo where he shared the stage with Downton Abbey favourite Brendan Coyle.With solid movie performances such as Parked and more recently with Kit Harrington in Testament of Youth, Colin has been noted for his concentrated and careful portrayal of his characters which has seen become an acclaimed screen star, much loved across the globe.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers

as Patrick Pearse

Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers has been an acclaimed international screen star since his debut performance in Neil Jordan’s 1996 film Michael Collins, which was based on the hero of the Irish War of Independence. He is best known for playing the central role of Henry VIII in Showtime’s Hit TV show The Tudors.He has starred in leading movie roles such as Woody Allen’s Match Point opposite Scarlett Johansson; in Bend It Like Beckham with Keira Knightley and in Kirsten Sheridan’s wonderful August Rush. A regular top biller on lists for world’s hottest star, Jonathan has modeled for various brands including Hugo Boss and Versace. His versatility as an actor allows for his credits to include many action movie roles including alongside John Travolta in From Paris with love and in Mission Impossible III with Tom Cruise.Among his awards, Jonathan won the Best Actor Golden Globe for his remarkable performance as Elvis Presley and more recently, he starred in ‘Stonewall’ directed by Roland Emmerich and in the lead role of ‘Dracula’ in the NBC drama series

David O’Hara

as James Connolly

David O'Hara was born and raised in Glasgow in Scotland. Over the past 35 years, he has joined the ‘most wanted’ list for movie directors around the world having worked with the greats including Martin Scorsese, Alan J Pakula, Mel Gibson and Terry George. David has had major roles in two films that have won the Best Picture Oscar – Braveheart and The Departed.Other notable movie appearances such as Harry Potter, Some Mother’s Son, Hotel Rwanda and The Devil’s Own have seen him share scenes with (and very often steal scenes from) some of the finest actors working today including Jack Nicholson, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Janeane Garofalo, Brad Pitt, Helen Mirren and Leonardo diCaprio.Though he has appeared many times in TV series such as Gotham, The Tudors and Luther, it is for his movie performances he is most regarded. Most memorable of all is the Irishman Stephen in Mel Gibson’s masterpiece Braveheart where he assured William Wallace of the support of Ireland against the English because of one clear fact. "It's my island".

Michael Neeson

as Michael Collins

The Rising will be Michael Neeson's debut screen role. He is reprising the role that his father Liam Neeson made famous twenty years ago in the Neil Jordan classic movie Michael Collins which co-starred Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Julia Roberts and Alan Rickman.

Fiona Shaw

as Countess Markievicz

Born and raised in County Cork in Ireland, Fiona Shaw has become one of the world’s most regarded performers on stage and screen. Among her many stage accolades are 2 Laurence Olivier Awards, 2 Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards, an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance on the Broadway show The Waste Land.Fiona’s TV roles include Gormenghast with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, HBO’s True Blood, Empire and Lynda LaPlante’s Trial & Retribution.As well as portraying Aunt Petunia in the blockbuster Harry Potter movies, Fiona has worked with some of the greatest movie directors including Terrence Mallick in Tree of Life and Brian DePalma in The Black Dahlia. Some of her most memorable work has been in two Irish masterpieces: Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy and Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot.

Brendan Coyle

as Chief Secretary Birrell

Brendan Coyle has recently become a ‘global household name’ for his portrayal of the humble heartthrob Mr. Bates in the smash-hit Downton Abbey.For the past 25 years, he has had numerous acclaimed roles on stage, TV and film and among his accolades is an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in the stage play The Weir. The movies that he has starred in include The Raven with John Cusack, I Could Read The Sky with Dermot Healy and Tomorrow Never Dies, which starred Pierce Prosnan as James Bond. His TV projects include Prime Suspect, Spotless and North and South.No stranger to subjects on Irish history, Brendan played the role of Irish hero Michael Collins in the TV series Rebel Heart and also starred in Omagh which won the BAFTA award for Best Drama.

The Irish Movie 100 years in the making