Love of the Irish: Michael Fassbender, Saoirse Ronan, and More of Ireland’s Best in W

Jeff Burton

St. Patrick’s Day may often seem like an excuse to do little more than drink and wear green makeup, but the holiday is also a chance to celebrate the Irish among us—especially when they come in the form of Michael Fassbender’s abs. The Irish actor may also have German heritage, but it’s thanks to his role as the IRA activist Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s 2008 film Hunger that Fassbender really entered the spotlight, a role he was so dedicated to that he dropped 40 pounds. He’s hardly the only actor in Hollywood to have Irish roots: Saoirse Ronan grew up in Dublin, a city where the model-turned-actress Caitriona Balfe, the Victoria’s Secret Angel Stella Maxwell, and the European pop goddess Roísín Murphy have also lived. All have also appeared in W, shot by photographers such as Willy Vanderperre, Peter Lindbergh, and Mert & Marcus. Revisit those images on St. Patrick’s Day—and in this embattled time for immigrants—here.

Jeff Burton

Michael Fassbender, the German-Irish actor, may have once told W he’s been naked since the start of his career, but he really kicked things off with Hunger in 2008, Steve McQueen’s film that stars (and starved) Fassbender as the IRA activist Bobby Sands.


The 22-year-old actress Saoirse Ronan was born in the Bronx—and has a certain connection to Brooklyn—but quickly moved back to Dublin with her Irish parents, making for an distinctive accent she’s even taught Stephen Colbert.


Victoria’s Secret Angel (and Miley Cyrus’s ex) Stella Maxwell was born in Belgium and has lived in New Zealand, but her parents are actually both Northern Irish.


Before Jonathan Rhys Meyers made the world swoon in Bend It Like Beckham, the Dublin-born actor grew up in Cork, where he was scouted after being expelled from a 19th-century Gaelcholáiste school.


Descended from the 18th-century Irish Brewer Arthur Guinness, heiress, actress, model, and overall personality Daphne Guinness grew up in both England and Ireland.


The model-turned-actress Caitriona Balfe, who you may recognize from Outlander, got her start in Dublin before going on to act in films with George Clooney.


The European pop goddess Róisín Murphy may have recently returned to America, but she’s always been unapologetically Irish, whether through her accented name or her lyrics.

Photographer: Willy Vanderperre Stylist: Benjamin Bruno

The designer Jonathan Anderson may spend most of his time in London, running his namesake label J.W. Anderson, and in Madrid, where he helms the Spanish house Loewe, but Anderson actually spent the ’90s growing up in Northern Ireland.