Thursday 8 December 2016

The Snapper baby is all grown up and sounds nothing like the Curleys

Published 10/02/2016 | 11:33

Aisling Conlon played the baby in The Snapper
Aisling Conlon played the baby in The Snapper
Aisling Conlon who played the baby in The Snapper

Aisling Conlon played Sharon Curley's baby in The Snapper, but the now 23-year-old sounds nothing like her on-screen family.

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The Snapper is based on one of the novels from Roddy Doyle's hugely successful Barrytown trilogy and is set in a working class area of Dublin.

The character of Sharon Curley falls pregnant after a drunken tryst with a much older neighbour but tells her family the father is a Spanish sailor.

Aisling (23) bagged the role after a casting agent visited Holles St maternity hospital where she had just been born in 1992.

Aisling Conlon who played the baby in The Snapper
Aisling Conlon who played the baby in The Snapper

"He was speaking to a few of the nurses in the ward and asked them if they had any good looking babies, which sounds like a terrible thing to ask them, but they recommended me because of my large dimples," Aisling told The Ryan Tubridy Show RTÉ Radio 1.

"My parents were very open to it because they had read the Roddy Doyle books and knew the movies Colm Meany had been in so they were definitely all for it."

Baby Aisling was paid £300 for her performance, which her parents very kindly donated to Holles Street.

While the adult Aisling may sport the same brown curly hair as her on-screen mother, she couldn't be more different to the Curleys.

She grew up in Dubai, returning to Ireland at the age of 9.  She then attended St Bartholomew's junior school in Dublin 4, where she bumped into Roddy Doyle who was visiting one day and managed to get a selfie and the author's signature on her copy of The Snapper.

She is currently studying for a Masters in clinical and translational research at UCD and represents Ireland on the Irish canoe slalom team and hopes to compete in at the Rio Olympics this year.

Aisling Conlon who played the baby in The Snapper
Aisling Conlon who played the baby in The Snapper

Growing up in Dubai, Aisling was not aware of the impact of The Snapper in Ireland.

"When I came home [aged 9] people were talking about this movie and my dad said, 'Oh, you were the baby' but it didn't really register how significant of a cult Irish film it was until I was in my teenage years," said Aisling.

"It's only as I've got older I've really realised how many people are sentimental about the movie and what it means to people."

In the film the baby is said to have weighed 7lb 12 ounces, prompting one character to quip, "Is that a turkey or a baby?  That's a good sized baby.  Small turkey though." but Aisling is at pains to point out she was actually a small baby of just 6lbs.

"I was so much smaller than everyone seems to think I was," she laughs, "I tell people and their faces drop!"