Former Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott is among the top ten greatest Irish figures ever as chosen by members of the public voting on the RTE.ie website. Lynott, who died tragically in 1986, aged 35, is joined by former presidential candidate and Chernobyl activist Adi Roche and the late politician and physician Dr Noel Browne.
Also among those who qualified from an original shortlist of 40, as compiled by Ipsos mrbi, were the late Boyzone member Stephen Gately and U2 lead singer, Bono. Former president Mary Robinson along with 1916 patriots Padraig Pearse, James Connolly and Michael Collins also made the top ten list.
Former SDLP leader John Hume is the only person from north of the border to have made the top ten. Writers WB Yeats, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney failed to make the jump from the top 40 to the top ten – as did Seán Lemass, Eamon de Valera, Wolfe Tone and Charles Stuart Parnell.
Conspicuous by their absence too were some sports stars, namely footballer Roy Keane, golfer Pádraig Harrington, rugby’s Brian O’Driscoll, runner Sonia O’Sullivan and hurler Christy Ring. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was the only businessman to be included in the top 40 but he too missed out on the top ten.
The list of ten finalists will soon be whittled down to five, again as nominated by RTE.ie online voters. These five figures will become the subject of one of five hour-long documentaries, each detailing the person’s impact and contribution to Irish life as interpreted and championed by a well-known personality.
Speaking on The Tubridy Show, Myles Dungan said the documentaries will be shown this September on RTE One. Once they are shown, the public will again be asked to vote for an overall winner of the accolade ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ . The winner will be announced on the Late Late Show in October.
To vote for ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ go to http://www.rte.ie/tv/irelandsgreatest/