Oscar Wilde dropped his accent while he was studying at Oxford University because of how the Irish were treated there, according to actor Rupert Everett.
The 53-year-old is in Dublin promoting David Hare's play 'The Judas Kiss' at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin next month, in which he will play Wilde.
"Wilde arrived at Oxford with a Dublin accent but by the time he finished, it was gone," said the English-born star. "This is because, I think, England had a vile attitude towards Irish people at that time. All those writers who came over to England tried to change everything about themselves.
"Yet when Wilde was dying in Paris years later, he was delirious and talking about getting a boat to Dublin."
The openly gay star maintained that Ireland was "still living in the stranglehold of the Catholic Church" despite changes in the past two decades. "That type of thing just doesn't get wiped away," he said.
Everett made headlines when he said he couldn't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay fathers.
Yesterday he stood by his comments.
"I personally don't have that mindset because I think there are enough people on the planet. But I don't have anything against adoption," he said. "Those people (gay couples) that do adopt are living on the crest of a wave of progress."
'The Judas Kiss' is at the Gaiety from October 15-20. Tickets €25-€47.50 from www.gaietytheatre.ie.