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George Best

Famous People

For such a small country we have a lot of famous people who have made an impact all across the world. To name but a few we have on the big screen a big presence led by Liam Neeson, Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Rea, James Nesbitt, Roma Downey and Sam Neill, also playwrights Martin Lynch and Marie Jones.

We have competed at the highest level in sport – including football legend George Best, Harry Gregg, Pat Jennings and Martin O'Neill, Formula One driver Eddie Irvine, motorcycling hero Joey Dunlop, snooker world champions Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor, British and Irish Lions rugby stalwart Willie John McBride, golfer Darren Clarke and Olympic gold medalist Mary Peters.

Northern Ireland has produced a wealth of writers, among others Brian Friel and Brian Moore (screenwriter for Hitchcock's Torn Curtain film). The rhythms and rhymes and ballad like repetitions of the poet Louis MacNeice (1907-63) spring from his childhood in Northern Ireland and C S Lewis, Christian intellectual and writer of the hugely popular children's stories was born in East Belfast. Our writing talent is also on display through Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, born on a farm near Bellaghy, and Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett who both went to school in Enniskillen. John Hewitt and William Carleton are remembered through summer schools and a well-developed literary trail is associated with Patrick Bronte, father of the novelist sisters.

Our visual arts connections are also impressive. Visit the Ulster Museum's permanent collection to see, among others, works by Sir John Lavery, William Conor, Paul Henry, John Luke, Georgina Moutry Kyle, Grace Henry and Susannah Drury.

We have an abundance of musical talent and have produced such greats as Van Morrison, Gary Moore, James Galway, Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy, Therapy? The Undertones, Ash, Stiff Little Fingers and Snow Patrol.
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European Regional Development Fund