Top 6 Irish people that changed the world for good

Be proud, there are countless Irish people that changed the world for good, but here are out top six picks!

We keep doing it, and we’ve been at it for ages. For a small country, our people have contributed mightily to world affairs, here we take a light-hearted look at six — perhaps lesser-known — Irish people that have changed the world. 

For hundreds of years, the people of this small rock out in the middle of the Atlantic have had a significant influence on politics, sport, social affairs, and, possibly most notably, the arts.

In this article we are going to look at random at six Irish people — some extremely well known and some others not so — who have changed the world.

The list is not complete, hundreds if not thousands of our kinfolk have contributed their all to make this planet a better place to live. Here are the top six Irish people that changed the world.

6. John Philip Holland – the inventor of the submarine

If it wasn’t for an Irish man from Liscannor in County Clare, the Beatles would never have had a hit with “Yellow Submarine” or Tom Clancy could not have written his bestseller The Hunt For Red October.

You see, Holland invented the submarine; his invention was quickly taken up by both the American and British navies, but there is no truth in the scandalous lies told in the UK that Holland was a typical Paddy who was really trying to build a boat that just kept sinking.

5. Bram Stoker – the mastermind behind Dracula

The novel Dracula, written by Dublin man Bram Stoker, is said to be one of the most influential fictional works ever to have been published.

Instigating a whole new literary movement and firing the imagination of countless other writers, Stoker’s work gave birth to an entirely new genre of fiction.

It gave actor Christopher Lee a nice handy earner for life. The Dracula films also gave young lads of my generation a great excuse to put their arms around a date at the movies, and for that we are grateful. 

4. Jim Fitzpatrick – known for his iconic paintings


Jim Fitzpatrick’s iconic two-tone portrait of Che Guevara created in 1968, based on a photo by Alberto Korda is ranked by art historians as one of the ten most recognised images of all time.

The portrait and its undertones of revolution leading to freedom was a touchpaper for the relaxation of social hang-ups before the freedom that came with the ‘60’s peace movements.  

3. Bono – the man behind the glasses

Paul David Hewson (born 10 May 1960) is better known by his stage name Bono.

Irish people either love him or hate him. Still, there can be no doubt as to the effort and the results obtained by Bono in his quest to obtain a better standard of life for those suffering from global poverty.

Ok, you mightn’t like the voice or the sunglasses or the pomposity, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. 

2. Francis Rynd AM, MRCS, MRIA – the inventor of hypodermic syringes

Speaking about insufferable pains as in four above brings us to Francis Rynd, who was a Dublin doctor famous for inventing the hollow needle used in hypodermic syringes.

The idea came about when a patient of Rynd had an insufferable pain in her facial muscles and was unable to take morphine orally.

Rynd came up with the idea of manufacturing the world’s first hypodermic syringe and delivered pain relief subcutaneously.

So, next time you’re asked to drop your trousers by a big beefy nurse intent on sticking a needle in your bottom, you know who to thank.

1. John Joly – developed radiotherapy treatment

Offaly physicist and professor of geology at the University of Dublin was fairly famous for his development of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer.

He also came up with the first idea on how to develop colour photographs. When researching this piece, we also noticed that he once produced a scientific method to prove that ice was slippy….in fairness, it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out. 

There you have it, our top six Irish people that changed the world. How many did you know about?