Saoirse Ronan and Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey on Forbes '30 under 30'

Actress Saoirse Ronan and Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey have been named on Forbes’ “30 under 30” list of high-achieving twenty-somethings.

The magazine’s annual list puts a spotlight on 600 of the brightest talents under the age of 30 across a range of categories including science, art, and sport.

Cork native and co-founder of the successful Web Summit, Mr Hickey, 29, has been recognised in the media category for the tech conference’s impact over the past number of years.

His prowess in dealing with some of the world’s largest companies in establishing the summit is lauded by the US magazine, as is his haul of over $2m (€1.86m) in media partnerships with the event last year.

Like many returning from the Christmas break, the young entrepreneur headed back to work with a little trepidation and the thought of an overflowing inbox front and centre of his mind.

As it turns out, he was in for a pretty special surprise.

“I’m in New York at the moment so I got a bunch of emails from friends yesterday morning but I didn’t know what was going on. I got one message which just said ‘Rockstar, congrats’ and I didn’t have a clue what [the sender] meant,” Mr Hickey said.

“I knew the list would be out around now so I went Googling to see what he was on about but couldn’t find anything. I sent him a message back and he told me then so it was a nice surprise and a nice way to start 2016. It’s nice to be included alongside such a group of people like Saoirse Ronan who is obviously very talented.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Ms Ronan, brought up in Co Carlow, has enjoyed a steady rise to prominence over the past decade or so and copper-fastened her place as one of Hollywood’s hottest up and coming stars in her recent role in Brooklyn.

Forbes’ profile acknowledges Ms Ronan’s previous roles in Atonement and The Lovely Bones before claiming she “has set critics fluttering with Brooklyn”.

Having scooped the best actress award at the New York Critics Circle on Monday night for her stunning performance, it’s hard to argue with the magazine’s prediction a second Oscar nomination is likely in 2016.

Saoirse Ronan and Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey on Forbes '30 under 30'

Accepting the award, Ronan referenced the years she spent in New York having been born in the Bronx where she lived until she was three. “I’m one of you,” she told the crowd. “I am from the Bronx, after all. ‘Saoirse from the Block’ is what they call me! Now, go back to eating your dessert.”

Other luminaries on the Forbes list include two of the leads from the latest Star Wars blockbuster, Daisy Ridley, 23, and John Boyega, also 23 .

Basketball superstar Steph Curry, 27, and golfer Jordan Spieth, 22, have also been honoured.

Previous Irish high achievers to make the cut include Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of payments company Stripe which is valued at over €4.6bn and James Whelton from Cork, who founded global coding movement, CoderDojo. Entrepreneur Oisín Hanrahan who sealed a $50m investment in his company during last year’s Web Summit, has also featured.


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