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'I've been converted to GAA,' says 'Normal People' star Daisy Edgar-Jones

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Straight-talker: Daisy Edgar-Jones drew on her mother’s Northern Ireland background to master the brogue of a Sligo accent for her role as Marianne. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Roland Mouret)

Straight-talker: Daisy Edgar-Jones drew on her mother’s Northern Ireland background to master the brogue of a Sligo accent for her role as Marianne. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Roland Mouret)

Dave Benett/Getty Images for Rol

Straight-talker: Daisy Edgar-Jones drew on her mother’s Northern Ireland background to master the brogue of a Sligo accent for her role as Marianne. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Roland Mouret)

When English actress Daisy Edgar-Jones took to the stands of a GAA pitch in Blanchardstown, she wasn't sure what to expect from our native sport.

But she was left utterly in the dark after seeing "two men in lab coats" stroll on to the pitch during filming of the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's Normal People.

Before she could alert her director Lenny Abrahamson, she discovered that both men were in fact actors, who were hired for the day to pose as umpires.

"I am a GAA convert now and the thing is I had never seen it before," Daisy says.

"God, I remember this thing happened on the day when we were filming the big football match scene.

"I was watching the guys take to the field and I noticed that there were these two men in lab coats by the goal posts and I couldn't figure out what they were doing there.

"I thought that these two guys had wandered on to the set and were just watching the game or something.

"I was getting a bit worried and then someone told me that they were referees in the game and I was careful enough not to say that to anyone else.

"I loved the game - I have been made to watch soccer from an early age but I never really enjoyed it.

"But I really thought it was brilliant and it is such an amazing game and Paul (Mescal) was actually really good so they portrayed it properly.

"They played a full match to give people a true sense of the sport and, yeah, I just loved it."

Daisy (21) was born in Islington, London, before growing up in nearby Muswell Hill.

Her acting career began when she starred in Cold Feet when she was just 16, and, from there, she went on to land her first movie role in Pond Life.

Last year she appeared in the BBC historical drama Gentleman Jack and the BBC sci-fi drama War of The Worlds before landing the career-defining role of schoolgirl Marianne in the television adaptation of Normal People.

With just two episodes broadcast, the 12-part series, a co-production between RTE and the BBC, has received almost universal approval.

There was some criticism last week with Joe Duffy's 'Liveline' inundated with calls from people who found the sex scenes too graphic. Director Lenny Abrahamson laughed off the criticism on social media. Daisy's Irish accent has been given the thumbs-up by fans of the novel and television critics across the globe.

Daisy admits that the inspiration behind her Irish brogue came from her Northern Irish mother Wendy and listening to Sally Rooney on podcasts.

"The accent was really important to me as well," Daisy says.

"I am lucky that my mum is from the north of Ireland so that helped.

"It is kind of like singing and I have been over to Ireland loads of time as a child so I had an understanding of the 'r' sound and the specifics of the accent and sensibilities.

"I always found it shocking when people would walk down the street and say 'hi' to complete strangers.

"I was coming from London and this was just horrific to me.

"Stuff like that was important but the way the script is written, I could sort of hear the accent.

"But I knew it was important to get the accent right because I was acting with Paul and a cast of Irish people.

"It would have been something unforgivable to get wrong.

"I listened to a lot of her [Sally Rooney's] podcasts as her accent was something I wanted to try to feed into Marianne.

"She's from Mayo and Marianne is from Sligo but slightly posher and has a more anglicised version."

Sunday Independent