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8 young Irish actors who could be on the brink of global stardom

Saoirse Ronan and co had better watch their backs.

THE EMERALD ISLE is well known for producing some top acting talent and we’re celebrating the so-called cream of the crop at the Irish Film and Television Awards tonight.

From Brenda Fricker and Colm Meaney to Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson and Michael Fassbender, our finest exports have been causing quite a stir.

And, believe it or not, there are even more familiar hard-working Irish faces looking to make their mark on the international stage.

Here are just eight who you should definitely keep an eye on in the next 12 months:

1. Yasmine Akram

She made her telly debut as Sherlock’s Irish bridesmaid earlier this year but Yasmine Akram has been honing her craft for quite some time.

Source: BBC

Akram has written comedy sketches for the likes of Channel 4 and BBC, turned heads with her own one-woman show – which she also wrote – and taken over the radio waves with her comedy partner Aisling Bea on BBC radio.

She’s currently busy on both sides of the Irish sea with TV roles in the likes of The Centre and Stella, and with Sherlock fans singing her praises things are certainly looking bright for the Louth lady.

2. Colin O’Donoghue

You might remember him as the ridiculously talented musician Amy Huberman’s Daisy fell head over heels for in The Clinic, and now Colin O’Donoghue is charming the ladies on the other side of the Atlantic.

Source: ABC

The Drogheda native plays a roguish Captain Hook aka Killian Jones on ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon A Time. He was originally slated to star in just a few episodes, but the character was so well received that they decided to keep him on board.

Funnily enough, O’Donoghue was actually awarded the very first IFTA for Best New Talent at the inaugural ceremony back in 2003. Not a bad bet, eh?

3. Eve Hewson

Memphis Eve Hewson may have a famous daddy but if there’s one thing the Dublin native is out to prove it’s that sometimes you CAN make it on your own.

Source: Indigo Film

Bono wasn’t too keen on the idea of her heading into the ‘biz’ but Eve kept on trucking in small productions and headed off to the New York Film Academy.

She popped up in The Script’s ‘For The First Time’ music video before landing a highly publicised role alongside Sean Penn and Frances McDormand in This Must Be the Place.

Hewson was most recently spotted in James Gandolfini’s final film Enough Said and has been busy filming Steven Soderbergh’s new TV drama, The Knick, with Clive Owen.

4. Colin Morgan

He made his name as BBC’s Merlin but Colin Morgan has been a very busy boy since the immensely popular show ended.

Source: RTÉ/BBC

You might have spotted him skulking around as a rather, err, charismatic journalist opposite Gabriel Byrne in Quirke, but he’s also been treading the boards in London with the likes of Rupert Grint, Brendan Coyle and Ben Whishaw.

His next role sees him team up with Game of Thrones stalwart Kit Harrington,  Captain America star Hayley Atwell, The Wire’s Dominic West and Swedish beauty Alicia Vikander in The Testament of Youth.

5. Sarah Bolger

Remember the older sister from In America? The one who grew up to be Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ daughter in The Tudors? She won an IFTA for the role y’know.

Source: ABC

She may have slipped under your radar every now and then but Sarah Bolger is still quite the force to be reckoned with and has built up quite the fanbase online.

The Dublin native has made the jump from child-star to actress and is currently popping in and out of ABC’s Once Upon A Time as Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), which just so happens to see her reunited with her one-time Tudors love interest Colin O’Donoghue.

6. Jonas Armstrong

Remember that recent BBC version of Robin Hood? Did you know that the main man himself was played by an Irishman?

Source: BBC

Dubliner Jonas Armstrong is no stranger to TV, having worked on a number of high profile series like Teachers and Prisoners Wives, but he’s about to get his biggest break since hanging up that bow and arrow.

He’s joining Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in upcoming sci-fi flick Edge of Tomorrow and while nobody’s sure exactly who he’ll be playing, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

7. Aisling Franciosi

If you were a big fan of The Fall then young Aisling Franciosi’s face will look fairly familiar.

Source: RTÉ

Born in Italy and raised in Dublin, 21-year-old Aisling starred as a babysitter opposite Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson in the RTÉ/BBC co-production.

She reappeared on our screens earlier this year as Gabriel Byrne’s daughter in mystery drama Quirke, and is rumoured to be joining forces with Dornan once again when The Fall returns for a second series.

8. Jack Reynor

Well now, here’s a young lad who needs no introduction. Reynor picked up last year’s IFTA Rising Star Award for his performance in What Richard Did and if his CV is anything to go by he’s going to be a busy boy this year.

Source: Paramount Pictures

He makes his blockbuster debut this summer opposite Mark Wahlberg in Transformers 4 and already won a Rising Star award for his performance at CinemaCon 2014.

However, in news that’s probably even more exciting from an Irish perspective, he’s also going to join Michael Fassbender in a re-telling of Macbeth and romance royalty in a new fictionalised tale of VE Day.

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