Tuesday 28 January 2020

Monty Python star Michael Palin scoops Lifetime Achievement Award at UCD

Michael Palin
Michael Palin

Deirdre Reynolds

Monty Python star Michael Palin was looking on the bright side as he scooped a Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts at UCD last night.

The comedy icon turned travel documentarian was honoured by the university’s Arts Society for his work over the past five decades.

Jetting into the capital to accept the honour, he joked how he planned to “take down the Rembrandt” hanging in his bedroom to make room for the award.

The BAFTA-winning actor and writer said: “There are quite powerful links and connections with this country that I’ve experienced during my visits here and one of them is a love of words and respect for writing, which has always impressed me whenever I come to Ireland.”

From left, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones from Monty Python
From left, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones from Monty Python

“In London, I find they’re interested in me as a celebrity first and writer second, in Ireland I think it’s very often the other way round,” he added. “Earlier today I discovered the [Dublin] Writers Museum on Parnell Square, a place that seems to exemplify this situation. As far as I’m aware, there’s no writers museum anywhere in London.”

Two hundred fans filled the FitzGerald Debating Chamber in the Belfield student centre to hear the 72 year-old reminisce on his time as one sixth of the cult British comedy troupe.

Speaking at the event, Mr Palin - whose great-grandmother was from Donegal - told: “My first visit to Ireland was on my honeymoon. I think it laid the foundation for a good relationship. In fact, in ten days’ time my wife and I will celebrate 50 years to the day since we first [visited].

The Sheffield native continued: “The Irish connection also came up in 1993 when I found myself down near Mallow filming a great railway journey from Derry to Kerry on my 50th birthday. And purely by chance, our first grandchildren, Archie, was born just over ten years ago on St Patrick’s Day.

“I’m very grateful because Ireland played quite an important part in my life story and this probably accounts for why I feel very much at home when I come here.”

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