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Discovering Ireland's gems: where celebs are from and what to do there

Stars such as The Saturdays' Una Foden, heartthrob Niall Horan from One Direction, dashing Pierce Brosnan and funnyman Louis Walsh are just some of the celebrities who will be celebrating St Patrick's Day on 17 March. Colourful parades and festivals are set to take place all over the world, Irish and non-Irish alike will sit down to a traditional pint of Guinness and Prince William and Kate Middleton make their first joint public appearance since the birth of their first son, Prince George, at the annual St Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks in Aldershot. We look at where some of Ireland's biggest stars are from in The Emerald Isle and what to see there.

 Photo: © Rex

Una Foden (née Una Theresa Imogene Healy) was born in Thurles, the second-largest town in North Tipperary. The Saturdays singer, whose mum is a nurse and dad is a GP, finished school at 18 and decided to become a medical secretary. She then went on to study nursing and primary teaching before pursuing her music passion at 23. She flew over to London in 2007 and landed an audition for The Saturdays, which was her first audition for a major label and abroad. She hasn’t looked back since. Pictured here is must-see tourist attraction, the famous Rock Of Cashel, which dates back to the 12th century. Photo: © Rex

Jedward, or John and Edward Grimes, were born on 16 October 1991 in Dublin, Ireland. John is 10 minutes older than Edward but Edward is the taller of the two. The identical twins like having pets – they used to have a budgie called Joey and they now have a cat called Armani. They were 17 when they auditioned on X Factor. Pictured here is the famous and charming Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin. The elliptical arch bridge owes its name to the fact that it cost Dubliners a ha'penny to cross when it opened in 1816. Photo: © Rex

Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh hails from County Mayo in the west of Ireland, renowned for its exciting blend of rugged mountain trails, beautiful sandy beaches, sea cliffs and warm hospitality. He began managing bands at the age of just 15 and has gone on to manage the likes of Boyzone, Westlife and Girls Aloud over the years. Pictured here: the 2,507 ft-high mountain and important pilgrimage site, Croagh Patrick. Photo: © Rex

Handsome Colin Farrell is a native of Dublin, Ireland. He began turning heads in Hollywood when he starred in Joel Schumacher's Tigerland in 2000 and has starred in dozens of films since, including In Brudges, for which he scooped a Golden Globe. Strolling along Dublin's lively Temple bar area on the south bank of the River Liffey is like walking on a film set, with its preserved medieval feel, narrow cobbled streets and traditional old Irish bars with live music booming from within...  

Pierce Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, in the east of Ireland where he lived until the age of 12 when he moved to England. He's been an American citizen since 2004, but remains a proud Irishman. He once said: "My Irishness is in everything I do. It's the spirit of who I am, as a man, an actor, a father. It's where I come from." Pictured here: Dunmoe castle illuminated by the rising sun as mist rolls across the River Boyne and the lush green Irish landscape. Photo: © Rex

One Direction singer Niall Horan's hometown of Mullingar is found in County Westmeath on the north-east shore of Lough Ennellin, Ireland. The heartthrob has been playing guitar since he was around eleven and auditioned for the seventh series of X Factor in Dublin at sweet 16. Pictured here: 'the Jealous Wall' at Belvedere House near Mullingar, which was built in the 1700's by the owner after falling out with his brother, who lived on the adjacent estate at Tudenham. Photo: © Rex

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