Saoirse Ronan – her life, her story and her best movies

Saoirse Ronan returns to the Oscars

Saoirse Ronan has gone from child actor to Hollywood star in a stellar career that shows no sign of waning. With her extraordinary talent, versatility, and maturity beyond her years, Ronan has captivated audiences and critics alike in a string of blockbuster movies.

She shot to stardom at the age of 13 when she appeared in the critically acclaimed movie Atonement. Since then, she has appeared in several Hollywood movies and has been nominated for and won many prestigious acting awards.

Ronan was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in 2015’s Brooklyn. She has worked with some of the most talented people in Hollywood including, Peter Jackson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Wes Anderson, Rachel Weisz, Bill Murray, Mark Wahlberg, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Susan Sarandon and Cate Blanchett.

Ronan’s early life and creative family

Saoirse Una Ronan was born on April 12, 1994, in The Bronx, New York City. Her parents are Irish and she holds both Irish and American citizenship.

The family moved to New York seeking better opportunities than Dublin had to offer amid the recession of the 1980s. Her father, Paul Ronan, is an actor, and her mother, Monica Ronan, studied acting as a child.

Ronan’s family moved back to Dublin when she was three years old. They later moved to County Carlow where she was raised.

Growing up in a creative household, it was only natural for Ronan to develop an interest in acting. Her father, Paul Ronan, appeared in the movies, The Devil’s Own and Veronica Guerin among others. His profession served as an inspiration for her, and she started attending drama classes at a young age.

The Clinc
Saoirse Ronan in The Clinic (2003)

Saoirse Ronan’s acting career took off when she was just a child. She appeared in four episodes of Irish medical drama The Clinic when she was nine years old. The following year, she appeared in the TV series, Proof.

In 2007, Ronan appeared in three movies; The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, I Could Never Be Your Woman and her breakthrough movie Atonement.

Award winning performance in Atonement

Saoirse Ronan in Atonement (2007)

Directed by Joe Wright and based on Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name, Atonement showcased Ronan’s remarkable talent and garnered her widespread recognition. In it, she plays Briony Tallis, a teenage girl who develops feelings for her older sister’s lover.

Ronan’s performance was highly praised, earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 13. This made her one of the youngest actresses ever to receive such an honour. She was also nominated for several awards including a BAFTA and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and an Empire Award for Best Newcomer.

She won the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Youth in Film and the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role.

The following year she appeared in Death Defying Acts and City of Ember. Again she received award nominations for her performances in both films and won the Irish Film & Television Award for Actress in a Supporting Role.

Starring in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones

Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones (2009)
Ronan as Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones (2009)

Ronan starred as Susie Salmon in Peter Jackson’s supernatural drama, The Lovely Bones in 2009, a haunting and emotionally charged film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel. It tells the story of a young girl who watches over her family from the afterlife after being brutally murdered. Ronan received a host of award nominations for the film including a BAFTA for Best Actress.

She won several awards including Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actress and Irish Film & Television Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role.

The Way Back
With Ed Harris in The Way Back (2010)

In 2010 She played young Polish orphan, Irena, in The Way Back, a gripping survival drama directed by Peter Weir. Based on a true story, the film follows a group of prisoners as they escape from a Soviet gulag in Siberia and embark on an epic journey across treacherous terrain to find freedom. Ronan received the Irish Film & Television Award for Actress in a Supporting Role.

Several awards for the lead role in Hanna

Saoirse Ronan in Hanna
Saoirse Ronan in Hanna (2011)

The following year she played the title role in the movie, Hanna, an exhilarating action thriller directed by Joe Wright. The film follows the story of Hanna Heller, played by Saoirse Ronan, a young girl raised in the wilderness of Finland by her ex-CIA operative father, played by Eric Bana. Trained to become a lethal assassin, Hanna embarks on a dangerous mission across Europe while being pursued by a relentless intelligence agent (Cate Blanchett).

She won the Irish Film & Television Award for Actress in a Lead Role and several other awards.

Ronan’s first Irish character brings Oscar nomination

After that Ronan’s career went from strength to strength. She had lead roles in popular films How I Live Now and The Host.

In 2014, she appeared in Wes Anderson’s Oscar Nominated movie Grand Budapest Hotel.

The following year she played the lead role of Éilis Lacey in the movie Brooklyn. It was the story of a young Irish woman who left home in the 1950s to find a new life in America. It was the first time she had actually played an Irish character on the big screen.

Ronan won several awards for her performance in Brooklyn and was nominated for her first Best Actress Oscar. She said that the film was particularly poignant for her as she related to her character as a young Irish woman living away from her home country.

A frequent guest on prime-time talk shows

Saoirse Ronan on Saturday Night Live
Saoirse Ronan on Saturday Night Live

By now Ronan had become a recognised star and had a hit as a guest on prime-time talk shows on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to her easygoing personality and sharp sense of humour.

On one appearance, she gave American host Stephen Colbert pointers on how to speak with an Irish accent and has also appeared on US chateen of Scotsqueen Ellen DeGeneres’ show.

Another appearance saw Ronan tell Jimmy Fallon about the joys of an Irish pub lock in.

Another Oscar nomination

Saoirse Ronan as Ladybird (2017)

At the age of 23, Ronan became one of the youngest people to have been nominated for 3 Academy Awards, this time for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ in the movie Lady Bird (2017).

Saoirse Ronan portrays the character, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. Lady Bird is a strong-willed and rebellious teenager who navigates her final year of high school in Sacramento, California. Ronan brilliantly captures Lady Bird’s complexities, portraying her as a young woman filled with aspirations, dreams, and a desire for independence, while also facing the challenges of family dynamics, friendships, and self-discovery.

The film itself was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including ‘Best Motion Picture’. Ronan was nominated for numerous awards for her role, winning a Golden Globe and Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actress, plus many more.

Powerful historical roles

Mary Queen of Scots
Ronan as Mary Stuart

Ronan has always played powerful female roles, and in 2018 she went on to play Mary Stuart in the film Mary Queen of Scots. The film explores Mary’s complex relationships, including her rivalry with Queen Elizabeth I, played by Margot Robbie, and her struggle to assert her claim to the English throne.

Ronan’s performance showcased her ability to convey both strength and vulnerability, capturing the spirit and resilience of the charismatic monarch of Scotland.

As Jo March in Little Women
As Jo March in Little Women

In 2019 Ronan starred in Greta Gerwig’s award-winning adaptation of Little Women. In it, she portrays the iconic character of Jo March. Jo is an aspiring writer and the second eldest of the March sisters. Ronan brings Jo to life with her spirited performance, capturing her independent and free-spirited nature.

Her performance in Little Women earned her an impressive fourth Oscar nomination, and her third for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet in Ammonite
Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet in Ammonite

In 2020 she received critical acclaim for her performance in the role of Charlotte Murchison in the film Ammonite. The movie is a romantic drama set in the 1840s and revolves around the fictionalized relationship between real-life British palaeontologist Mary Anning, portrayed by Kate Winslet, and Charlotte, a wealthy young woman who visits Mary’s coastal hometown.

She continues to take on challenging and diverse roles including a second Wes Anderson film, The French Dispatch, with an eclectic all-star cast. There is no doubt that Saoirse Ronan’s star will continue to shine brightly in the years to come.

A powerful feminine role model

Saoirse Ronan-standing up for social issues

Beyond her acting career, Saoirse Ronan is known for her down-to-earth personality and commitment to various causes. She has used her platform to raise awareness about important social issues.

Ronan is a proud self-proclaimed feminist and has been an advocate for women’s rights, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.

She has spoken out against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and has supported initiatives aimed at promoting inclusivity and diversity. She has also been involved in projects aimed at ending homelessness and is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Saoirse Ronan FAQ

What is Saoirse Ronan Known for?

Saoirse Ronan is known for her acting career. She has gained recognition for her performances in films such as “Atonement,” “Brooklyn,” and “Lady Bird.” Saoirse is acclaimed for her talent and has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

What does the name Saoirse mean?

The name Saoirse is of Irish origin and it means “freedom” or “liberty.” It is a popular name in Ireland and reflects the country’s history and culture.

What accent does Saoirse Ronan have?

Saoirse Ronan has an Irish accent, as she hails from Ireland.

How do you pronounce Saoirse?

According to Saoirse Ronan herself, Saoirse is pronounced “Sare-sha.” The first syllable rhymes with “air” and the second syllable sounds like “sha”. The pronunciation might be unfamiliar to non-Irish speakers, but it is commonly used in Ireland.

At what age did Saoirse Ronan start acting?

Saoirse Ronan started acting at a young age. She made her acting debut in 2003 at the age of 9 in the Irish medical drama series “The Clinic.”

How many Oscars has Saoirse won?

Saoirse Ronan has been nominated for four Academy Awards but has not won any yet. She received nominations for her roles in “Atonement,” “Brooklyn,” “Lady Bird,” and “Little Women.”

Is Saoirse Ronan in a relationship?

As of 2022, Saoirse Ronan has been in a relationship with Jack Lowden, a fellow actor and co-star. They met on the making of Mary Queen of Scots and have recently been working together again on the upcoming drama, The Outrun.

How tall is Saoirse Ronan?

Saoirse Ronan is around 5 feet 6 inches (167 cm) tall.

Does Saoirse Ronan have any social media?

In an interview with Glamour UK (September 2022), Saoirse Ronan said, “Social Media can be a terrific tool for other people who use it in a sort of moderate and healthy way… But for me, to be honest, I wasn’t really getting anything out of it. I guess I don’t want people I don’t know to have access to my life.”