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20th Dec 2016

50 Millennials Shaping The Future Of Modern Ireland


Millennials have been affecting the world we live in for quite some time.

But now, as the 20-35-year-olds of Ireland begin to rise up the ranks of their respective fields, they’re really starting to shape and define it.

We’ve got our heads together in to curate a selection them from the worlds of politics, sport, social media and business – these are the people who will influence our lives, in ways both big and small, visible and invisible, over the next decade.

So, in no particular order

1. Gavan Reilly 

The king of Twitter when it comes to breaking news, politics and Irish commentary. Now with Today FM and already impressing in the big gigs – such as when he recently filled in for Matt Cooper on The Last Word.

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2. Stefanie Preissner 

A screenwriter, playwright and actor. Her six-part comedy-drama series, Can’t Cope/Won’t Cope has put her on the map and she looks set do entertain us for years to come.

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3. Simon Harris 

Only 29 and already a minister – time will tell, of course, whether he’s a success in this role. 

But he boasts a seriously wise head on very young shoulders, and while he might not fit the typical ‘millennial’ description, he’s a seriously influential guy.

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4. Annie and Kate Madden 

Two young girls ho developed an animal supplement that won awards and global recognition. They’re taking their product onto a global stage already and showing huge ambition. 

Oh, and did we mention? They’re still in secondary school.

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5. James Kavanagh 

The undisputed king of Snapchat in Ireland.

If you’re over 30 you might not have heard of him, but otherwise you probably know every single detail about his daily movements.

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6. Daire Hickey 

Recently listed on the Forbes 30 under 30, he is the quieter half of the Web Summit founding team. A master at media relations and connected all over the globe.

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7. Elva Carri 

Founder of the wonderful Girl Crew, which she turned from a simple idea to a way for girls to connect and go out all over the world. 

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8. Shane Long

A name who’s been on the lips of Irish football fans since he moved from Cork City to Reading all the way back in 2005 – however, with the Euros around the corner and some of England’s biggest clubs knocking on his door, this is his year.

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9. Al Porter 

A brilliant comedian, radio host and an increasingly important voice on social issues too. 

Future Late Late show host?

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10. Jason Smyth 

The 28 year old from Derry is blind, but that doesn’t stop him from winning medals by the bucket load – and showing that anything is possible for Irish athletes on a global stage.

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11. Hozier 

Has gone from breakthrough artist to one of the best known acts in the world. And still, you feel the only way is up.

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12. Saoirse Ronan 

Speaking of global stars: the actress who seems to have been around for decades but who is still so young.

Known all over the world for her wonderful mature acting – her recent performance in Brooklyn sealed her place in the top tier of acting talent across the globe. 

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11. Joe Canning 

Often drags the whole Galway team through on his own and hard to believe he’s only 27 – a huge figure in the West of Ireland, and the most followed hurler on Twitter.

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12. Niall Breslin 

Musician, TV star, fitness fanatic and – increasingly – a huge spokesperson for mental health issues. 

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13. The Rubberbandits 

We won’t name them personally, but far from being the one-hit-wonders that some expected after “Horse Outside” they’ve gone on to define the voice of a generation.

Super political analysis, a growing TV presence in both Ireland and the UK, and killing it on social media.

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14. Indy Power

Started a massively popular food blog that taps into the healthy eating movement, and that’s spawned a media career appearing in the Indo’s ‘Weekend’ magazine and regular TV appearances.

Watch her rise even further over the coming years.

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15. Piers McGrail

You’ve never seen his face, and you’ve probably never heard his name unless you work in advertising – but this young Irish cinematographer is responsible for shooting some of the most powerful, evocative and Hollywood-quality ads in Ireland.

He’s also made a serious move into shorts and feature films – but next time you see an Irish ad that makes you go ‘wow’, chances are it was this man behind the lens.

16. Noel Rock 

At 29 he has been a champion of local politics for the last few years, working hard on the ground, and he reaped the reward when he became the first Fine Gael TD elected in his constituency in several years.

Recently elected to the Dáil and set for even greater things in the future.

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17. Louise O’Neill 

An author who shook the nation to its core with the release of her second novel, Asking For It, which tackled issues such as consent and victim-blaming in the most stunning way imaginable. A strong, brilliant feminist voice on Twitter.

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18. Gary Gannon

A close-run contender for Social Democrats in the General Election this year, Dublin councillor Gary Gannon is marking himself out as a strong voice on social issues – both in and beyond his home ward of Dublin’s North Inner City.


19. Sarah Waldron

The creator and driving force behind the fascinating literary project The Coven, Sarah is a writer who absolutely brims with talent.


20. Jack Reynor 

Up and coming actor and at the age of 24 he is perfectly poised to break into the big time internationally. If you haven’t seen his performance in What Richard Did, then fix that as soon as possible.


21. Robbie Henshaw 

Just won the Pro12 with his home province and is now heading to Leinster.

He’s had to step into the big boots belonging to Brian O’Driscoll and is doing a brilliant job so far. Lots more to come from this young man.

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22. Nicole Turner 

At 14, she is just about sneaking into the millennial bracket. A Paralympic athlete, she’s been breaking records since she burst on the scene and looks set for a glittering career.

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23. Joanne O’ Riordan 

One of seven currently living people born with the condition Tetra-amelia syndrome, she has successfully taken on Taoiseach Enda Kenny about disability cutbacks, addressed the United Nations and even discussed technology with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Apple.

And she’s one of the most charming people you’ll ever come across. Win.

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24. Colm Williamson

The man behind the wildly popular Waterford Whispers News, which cuts popular and political figures down to size with wicked satire. 

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25. Sarah Bardon 

A political reporter with the Irish Times and former political editor at the Irish Mirror – a nose for a story, a phenomenal understanding of the political landscape, and always a welcome contributor on broadcast media.


26. John Connors

He first burst onto our screens in Love/Hate, but has since gone on to become a voice for the travelling community. His recent documentary on that very issue was a critically acclaimed success.

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27. Roz Purcell 

Model, healthy blogger, author, athlete and god knows how many other strings she has to her bow. Everything she turns her hand to, she slays.

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28. Niamh Horan 

Another one who splits opinion on a regular basis. Her features and reports in the Sunday Indo always tackle the big topics, and her voice carries serious weight. 

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29. Sinead Burke 

At 3’5” tall Sinead is a little person who is making a big impact on the world. She is a PhD candidate, a primary school teacher, a broadcaster, the Alternative Miss Ireland emeritus, a blogger and a public speaker.

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30. Katie Sanderson 

So ahead of the curve when it comes to food trends in Ireland, and influences a whole host of people around the country.

One can only pray she opens her own permanent restaurant soon.

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31. Ali Ryan 

Founder and editor of She is building a media empire from a young age and proving what can be done with hard work and a huge positive outlook. 

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32. Aoibhin Lennon

By day, she’s a client director at MediaVest – by night, she’s president of IAPI’s Futureheads, helping to shape and develop the advertising talent of tomorrow.

She also scooped an IAPI Doyenne Rising Star Award in 2015, so she’s most definitely one to keep an eye on…


33. Chris Donoghue

One half of one of the biggest radio success stories of the past decade – Newstalk Breakfast – it’s impossibly hard to believe that Chris is only in his early 30s.

Solid, personable and funny on air, it will be interesting to see what he does once he loses long-time on-air (sparring) partner Ivan Yates.

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34. Danielle Romeril

A fashion designer who has been breaking into the big time over in the UK. She has won multiple high end awards and her label is stocked in some of Europe’s biggest retailers already. 

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35. Conor Clinch

A photographer who prides himself on his inner city Dublin background and who has been making waves in the fashion world as a serious “one to watch”. Not yet out of his teens.


36. Moe Dunford

The actor who is best known for his roles as Aethelwulf in Vikings and as Patrick Fitzgerald in Patrick’s Day – only set for much bigger things on the international stage.

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37. Jeanne Sutton

Recently moved to the position of Deputy Editor at Stellar Magazine, Jeanne is a voice to be listened to on a whole range of topics – and is funny and generally sound to boot.

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38. Conor McGregor 

Love him or loathe him you simply can’t ignore him. Putting Ireland on the map for a whole new audience and, despite a small slip recently, still very much the one to beat.

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39. Kellie Harrington

It’s not just the men of Ireland who scare the bejaysus out of their opponents right across the world – mná na hÉireann can seriously pack a punch too, and Kellie Harrington’s stunning performance at the recent World Championships is another reminder of that. 

Following in the footsteps of…

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40. Katie Taylor 

A pure winning machine , with a big summer ahead of her – and a wonderful role model for so many.

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42. Suzanne Jackson

One of Ireland’s leading fashion and beauty bloggers, her legions of fans hang on her every word as she influences multiple verticals.

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43. Rossa Butler 

Ecommerce and marketing manager who is on his way up in the world of business – a guy who knows the next digital trend before most of us have even sniffed it.

At only 30, he’s clearly one of the business leaders of the future in our rapidly evolving digital world.

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44. The McGinn Sisters 

The three of them have the perfect blend of tech, marketing and fashion nous to make it with their OPSH platform. Such an unusual and refreshing blend of business partners. 

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45. Una Mullally 

Journalist, radio host and regular face on TV. Her columns, woman’s podcast, Twitter account and general views shape opinion on the most important of issues – and she was, of course, one of the dominant voices for the ‘Yes’ side during last year’s Equality Referendum. 

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46. Eoghan McCabe

A designer by trade, his company Intercom is employing close to 200 people in Ireland already. Hands down one of the biggest success stories in Irish start-up history with more to come.

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47. Wyvern Lingo

Just watch this space. All we’ll say.

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48. Kevin Doyle

Nope, not the (former?) Ireland footballer, but the Group Political Editor of the Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Indo and Sunday World – and of course, the gigantic

A star that just keeps rising.

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49. Stephen Quinn 

The man who started Jobbio which is one of the leading start ups in Ireland and is already going global, with offices in Dublin, New York and London.

Huge vision and smart marketing are helping them punch above their weight.

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50. Erika Fox

Originally from the West of Ireland she is making it big in the NY world of fashion and social media.

The real joy with Erika is watching her Snapchat as she shares the journey of starting out in the Big Apple, and how she’s now really starting to make it big time. 

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