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Aaron Monaghan: ‘I identify a lot of the time with Batman. There’s a resolve, and a patience, and a determination there...’

The director of Druid’s latest touring show on his favourite Cavanisms, being patient, and becoming a dad for the first time


Actor and director Aaron Monaghan. Photo: Ste Murray

Actor and director Aaron Monaghan. Photo: Ste Murray

Actor and director Aaron Monaghan. Photo: Ste Murray

Cavan born Aaron Monaghan trained as an actor at Trinity College. He is the artistic director of Livin’ Dred, the theatre company he set up in 2004. Aaron is married to actor/writer Clare Monnelly and they live in Dublin with their baby daughter, Ada.

What’s your earliest memory?

A birthday party in my house when I was three. I remember biting my sister’s toe.

When and where were you happiest?

The moment I saw my wife walk up the aisle on our wedding day. Then we turned our back on the congregation, and that was the most peaceful moment I’ve experienced.

What is your biggest fear?

Something happening to my family.

What is your least, and your most attractive trait?

I think I am incredibly patient. That can be a very good thing, and it can also not be a good thing.

What trait do you deplore most in others?


What’s the first thing you would do if you were Taoiseach?

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Build social housing and end the homeless problem and the housing crisis. There is absolutely no reason for that to exist in a modern society and culture like Ireland.

Who would you most like to go for a pint with?

Pat McCabe, Tommy Tiernan and Lisa O’Neill. I would bring them somewhere quiet in Galway, somewhere like Freeney’s, and I don’t think I’d do any talking.

I don’t tend to talk a lot when I’m in company, and I’d be fascinated by those three people chatting.

Which fictional character do you most identify with?

I identify a lot of the time with Batman. There’s a resolve, and a patience, and a determination there to never give up and to push yourself. I find solace in that.

What is your most treasured possession?

It is a poem that my mum, Elizabeth, wrote for me. I discovered a couple of years ago that my mum secretly and unbeknownst to us had been writing poetry, which was a huge revelation. Around the time I got married, she wrote a poem out by hand and signed it.

Who from the world of theatre would you most like to have met?

I’d love to have met and worked with John Millington Synge. I’d pick his brain about The Playboy of the Western World and what he was thinking when he was writing it.

How has fatherhood changed you?

Your previous life goes out the window. Your priorities change, and all the frivolous things that you loved and worried about kind of feel like a distant memory. But you don’t care about them anymore.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I used to spend a huge amount of time at movies and the gym, but the time for that does not exist anymore. So if I get an hour at the gym every two weeks, I relish that. I listen to Country music and do circuits of weights, punchbag and a lot of skipping. What’s your biggest insecurity?

People not believing me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Show up. Work hard. Play nice.

What’s your favourite word?

I’m going to say ojus. We use it a lot in Cavan. I think it comes from the word odious which is a terrible thing but used in Cavan, ojus can be bad or good. That’s where the name of my theatre company, Livin’ Dred came from too. It can be a very good or a bad thing, like “that’s a livin’ dred”.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

John C. Reilly

Do you believe in a God?

I don’t really, but I’d very much like to.

What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?

Breaking Bad again. And I loved it again.

What has been your closest brush with the law?

Getting pulled over for speeding.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Be braver, stop worrying.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?


Tell us a secret...

I have a collection of Masters of the Universe toys that I keep locked away in a box.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Clair de lune, arranged by Zoltán Kocsis.

Aaron directs Druid’s new production of Billy Roche’s classic play The Cavalcaders, which is touring nationwide until July 2. For venue details, go to druid.ie

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