Irish farmer set to enter Big Brother house tonight

Conor Kane

A 23-year-old farmer from Tipperary is currently being guarded in a secret location in London as he prepares to join the cast of the next series of UK TV smash hit Big Brother.

There is speculation in the Premier County that the young man in question is Cian Carrigan, from Goatenbridge near Ardfinnan in south Tipperary.

A "teaser" ad for the upcoming series of Big Brother, which gets under way on Friday night on Channel 5, did not show any of the new contestants' faces but a caption introducing one of the people described him as "the farmer, 23, Co Tipperary," with a voice saying "I deserve a place in the Big Brother House because you have not had a 23-year-old gay farmer from the heart of Ireland".

Other contestants are from Suffolk, Glasgow, Barnsley, Brazil, Wales, London, among other locations and include a "semi-professional footballer," a bartender, a "spiritual adviser," a carer, and a bricklayer.

The Big Brother series has been running since 1999, initially on Channel 4 but in recent years on Channel 5.

This season starts just a week after the conclusion of Celebrity Big Brother, which was won by Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas, who beat off the likes of Cheers star Kirstie Alley and footballer Jermaine Pennant and othrs.

Cian Carrigan is son of Joe and Majella Carrigan from Goatenbridge, which is located about 4km from Ardfinnan and is the base of the famous Ballybacon-Grange club.

Majella Carrigan was contacted by The Nationalist newspaper this week but would not confirm or deny that her son was about to be one of 14 contestants to enter the Big Brother house.

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"I really can't say anything. I'll get in trouble," she told the newspaper's website.

Majella Carrigan is a member of the Duhill Dramatic Society and is currently involved in the group's production of Little Gem. Duhill is located near Clogheen and the society's play is being staged this weekend.

Previous Irish contestants on Big Brother include Anna Nolan, who came close to winning the very first series, and Brian Dowling who won the second series and also a later edition which featured a number of previous victors.

Majella Carrigan, who is originally from nearby Newcastle, also sings in a local church choir while Joe Carrigan is from Ballybacon and worked as a water inspector with the council. The couple have a number of other sons and one daughter.

"They're a very nice, well-respected family," said one local man who has known the Carrigans for many years.

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