Sunday 23 July 2017

Neeson reveals 'terrible fear of public speaking'

Liam Neeson. Photo: Michael Chester
Liam Neeson. Photo: Michael Chester

Orla O'Sullivan

He may be one of Ireland's best-known and most successful actors, but Liam Neeson has revealed he has a fear of public speaking.

The Hollywood A-lister has even revealed he turned down an invitation to speak at his youngest son's school, because he doesn't like to address a crowd.

Neeson, fellow actor Aidan Quinn, writer Colum McCann, and Mundy were among those who attended an event on Monday in New York to help build a national centre for Irish culture in the US.

Neeson did not take to the mic at the fundraiser for the Irish Arts Centre, which has raised nearly enough money to build a facility twice its current size.

Instead he stood onstage as others, including Pat Breen, Employment and Small Business Minister, spoke.

"I have a terrible fear of public speaking," Neeson, whose last movie role was in Martin Scorsese's 'Silence', cheerfully admitted after the formalities.

"My youngest son's school asked me to give a talk recently, but I wouldn't.

"People say, 'but you're an actor'.

"It has nothing to do with acting," he added.

Neeson often backs Irish causes in New York.

The new Irish Arts Centre is envisioned as the main Irish arts in the US, not just in New York City.

"That centre is going to be so important.

"It will be a showcase for Irish culture," Mr Breen said.

It is hoped work can begin on the new facility in December and that it will be finish within two years.

Mundy, who also performs later this week in the centre, jokingly thanked those who had donated to his gin and tonic.

And, though it took several efforts, he soon had the formally-dressed crowd singing along.

Irish Independent

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