Thursday 25 December 2014

Ireland's most influential teens

Patrick Collison was just 19 when he and his brother John became millionaires. Last week, their firm was valued at €1.3bn. Graham Clifford on the other Irish teenagers making their mark on the world

The young and the restless: Saoirse Ronan is a worldwide film star. Photo by Getty Images
Donal Walsh
Alexander Amini. Photo by Lauri Aaltonen
Joanne O'Riordan
Ian Lawlor who was named in the Manchester City squad for a Champions League tie. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Jordan Casey developed apps from the age of 10. Photo by James Higgins
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays onto the green
Niall Horan has won the hearts of millions. Photo by Getty
Orla Gartland

When George Bernard Shaw famously penned the line 'youth is wasted on the young', the playwright could hardly have foreseen the generation of young Irish who are currently treading on the world stage today.

The young Collison brothers from Limerick, Patrick and John, last week celebrated the raising of $80m from investors in their online payment processing company 'Stripe'. John Collison was just 17 and Patrick was 19 years of age when the sale of their tech company turned them into overnight millionaires.

While impressive, the Collison brothers are not the only Irish risk-takers making waves on the international front.

Leaders in the fields of app development, software innovation, film, fashion, sport and music many Irish teenagers are now anything but wasteful with their high levels of energy and knowledge.

Indeed even in the traditional field of politics, young faces are making their mark. Last month, 19-year-old Adam Wyse was co-opted on to Waterford City Council explaining that: "My main objective is to help people. Age isn't a requirement."

Tech-savvy teens may well have stolen a march on more senior generations with their ability to use social media and software design packages to their advantage.

But the strides have been made across all sectors.

"Young people are no longer expected to be 'seen and not heard'," explains Daniel Meister of the National Youth Council of Ireland.

"Many are taking full advantage of the opportunities that digital and social media present to express their creative and entrepreneurial spirit. And in an age of disruptive innovation, young people are particularly well placed to introduce fresh ideas and new ways of doing things," he added.

A new list of the world's most influential teens published in the US magazine Time put 17- year-old New Zealand superstar Lorde (she of Irish decent) at the top of the pile with well-known names such as Malia Obama in 11th and Justin Bieber back in 13th.

So who exactly are Ireland's most influential teenagers? We look at the current crop and at some of those whose success was earned during their recent teenage years.

1. Saoirse Ronan


Fast gaining a reputation as one of the most versatile and capable young actresses in the business, Ronan, who was born in New York but brought up in Carlow, has Hollywood in the palm of her hand.

More nominations came her way in 2009 for her performance in the Peter Jackson directed The Lovely Bones and just last year she won rave reviews for her role of the romantic sci-fi film The Host.



Irish Independent

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