Here are some of the unusual jobs Irish people had before they were famous

Here are some of the unusual jobs Irish people had before they were famous

MANY of us can be inclined to think that Ireland's most talented and famous people were just born into stardom. In most instances, however, this simply isn't the case.

We've decided to take a look at the unusual occupations some of Ireland's best-known celebrities had before they shot to fame.

Brendan Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson (Picture: Getty Images)

The Harry Potter and In Bruges star had his baptism of fire as a secondary school teacher. That's right, Gleeson thought both Irish and English at the now defunct Catholic Belcamp College in North County Dublin, leaving the profession to become a working actor in 1991.

In an interview with in August 2017, Gleeson reflected on his time as a teacher, saying: "At first, I tried to treat students reasonably, like they were human beings. And they ate me alive. So, I did learn to keep my distance. I learned that it's a bluff."

Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy at the premiere of Dunkirk, 2017. (Picture: Getty Images)

There's no doubt that Cillian Murphy is an extremely talented actor, but did you know he was also a talented musician in his earlier years. The Corkman was the lead singer of a band called 'Sons of Mr Green Genes', named after a Frank Zappa song, who were gaining quite a lot of recognition before Murphy turned his interests to acting. Thankfully, RTE Archives have preserved this clip of a 19-year-old Cillian talking about his band. You can watch it here.

Una Healy


The Saturdays star turned solo performer was an All-Ireland champion swimmer at nine years old. After finishing school at 18, Healy decided to take a year out and worked as a medical secretary. She went on to study nursing and then primary teaching at Mary Immaculate College but finally decided to pursue her music passion at 23 years old. We think she made the right choice.

Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell. (Picture: YouTube)

Hollywood heartthrob Farrell donned his cowboy boots, denim jeans and jacket and his cowboy hat at an early age, and it wasn't for his role in American Outlaws. The Dub was a line dancing instructor before he got his break out role in Ballykissangel. If you don't believe us, we have video evidence.


Chris O' Dowd

Chris O' Dowd playing for Roscommon. (Picture: YouTube)

Recognise that face? That's the star of Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd in a Roscommon jersey. Chris O' Dowd was a goalkeeper for the Roscommon Gaelic football team long before he was an actor. Check out this incredible save. Maybe he should have stuck with the GAA.

Brenda Fricker

Brenda Fricker with her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. (Picture: Getty Images)

Brenda Fricker will forever be known as an Irish film legend for her role in My Left Foot, of which she received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But before becoming an actress, Fricker was assistant to the art editor of the Irish Times, with hopes to become a reporter. At age 19, she became an actress "by chance", her feature film career began with a small uncredited part in the 1964 film Of Human Bondage.

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne at last night's IFTA's in Dublin. (Picture:

Irish Film and Television Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gabriel Byrne had a number of unusual jobs before becoming an actor at age 29. Before becoming an actor, Byrne worked as an archaeologist, cook, and Spanish and History schoolteacher at Ardscoil Éanna in Crumlin, Dublin. Perhaps most interesting though was his training to become a priest. Well, that and the brief stint at bullfighting.

Sharon Horgan


Sharon Horgan. (Picture: Getty Images)

In her early twenties, the Catastrophe star Horgan moved to London and attended various drama courses. As a young actress struggling to make ends meet she took a series of odd jobs, including working in call centres and waitressing. For nearly two years she earned her living selling bongs in a head shop in Camden, London. We like to think that informed her brilliant comedy in some shape or form.

Liam Cunningham

Liam Cunningham. (Picture: Getty Images)

Any Game of Thrones fans will have a place in their heart for the honourable and loyal man that is Sir Davos, played by Dub Liam Cunningham. What if we told you that Sir Davos was once an apprentice with the Electronic Supply Board at Poolbeg Station. He moved to Zimbabwe for three years where he maintained electrical equipment at a safari park and trained Zimbabwean electricians. After returning to Ireland, he decided to give acting a try. The rest, as they say, is history.


Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson. (Picture: Getty Images)

From one Liam to another, the Taken star has had quite the extraordinary life. Neeson worked as a fork-lift operator at Guinness for quite a while. As well as that, Neeson had a brief spell at Shamrock Rovers Football Club in Dublin. He played one game where he came on as a substitute, but was never offered a contract. Most interesting, Neeson was Northern Irish Amateur Boxing Champion in his teenage years. No wonder he was so deadly while searching for his daughter in the three Taken films. We're surprised Spielberg didn't change the name of Schindlers List to Schindlers Fist. Innapropriate?