Wednesday 22 November 2017

Farrell to be best man at brother's wedding after same-sex marriage vote

Team Ireland ambassadors Claudine Keane and Colin Farrell at a Special Olympics Ireland reception in Los Angeles
Team Ireland ambassadors Claudine Keane and Colin Farrell at a Special Olympics Ireland reception in Los Angeles
Eamon Farrell, brother of actor Colin Farrell with his partner Stephen Mannion
Michelle Obama declares the 2015 Special Olympics World Games open
Team Ireland’s Lydia McGowan, from Leeson Street, Dublin, with with Garda Sergeant Michaela Moloney, from Henry Street Station, Limerick, and a member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Team
Members of Team Ireland including (front left) Thomas Connolly, from Coolaney, Co Sligo
Donal O’Mahoney, from Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Los Angeles
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Actor Colin Farrell is set to be best man at his brother's wedding once legislation is passed to allow for gay marriages in Ireland.

The Hollywood star says he regrets not travelling home to be in Dublin Castle as the referendum votes came in May.

"If I'm honest, selfishly I'm sick I wasn't at home. It nearly took the joy out of it for me," he told the Irish Independent.

"I was happy for everybody else but I was looking at the pictures online of Dublin Castle and was sick. I think in life sometimes you just want to be around good stuff.

"You want to be around people that are up for the craic and kind, that you feel you can lean into and that you're OK with them leaning into you," the 'True Detective' star said.

His brother Eamon plans to marry his partner Stephen Mannion next year. They originally married in Vancouver in Canada in 2009 but, having spoken out during the marriage referendum, now want to have Irish nuptials.

However they, like thousands of other couples, must await the outcome of two legal challenges to the referendum, which will be heard by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

The Government had hoped to publish the legislation before the Dáil rose earlier this month, but the litigation has led to a delay in the enactment of laws needed to allow gay weddings to proceed.

The two separate legal challenges to the outcome of the referendum vote will be heard by a three-judge court led by its President Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

One is brought by Gerry Walshe, an electrician, from Lisdeen Road, Co Clare; the other by Maurice Lyons, a gardener, with an address at Callan, Co Kilkenny.

In the High Court, Mr Walshe claimed there was State bias in funds towards the Yes side and he claimed the secrecy of the ballot was compromised by CCTV at polling stations.

In an interview with the Irish Independent to mark his appearance at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, Colin Farrell spoke of his pride at seeing the Irish vote beamed across the world.

He broke down in fits of laughter as he recalled a photograph of Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and drag queen Panti Bliss.

"I was looking at the pictures online and seeing Gerry Adams and Miss Panti doing a selfie.

"Seriously it was one of the most beautiful, ridiculous pictures I've ever seen," he said.

"You just think of those two men, genuinely, and what both of them were going through 25 years ago and what both of them had experienced in their lives. Both of them encapsulated by pain for different reasons and you go 'Jesus we've come a long way'."

He said that he will "definitely" be travelling to Dublin to take on best man duties for his brother at some stage in 2016.

"I have to talk to him about when that is. We have to organise it because so many of the family are over here (in LA) now."

He compared the feeling he got the day of the marriage referendum count to his involvement with the Special Olympics in terms of feel- good factor.

"Ever since 2003, when we hosted the Games at home in Ireland it's been something that has lived in me," he said.

"What Eunice Kennedy Shriver did all those years ago in setting up these games was an incredible thing.

"She has given voice and purpose to so many people who for so long were polarised and lived in the dark," the Dublin native said.

"They didn't have a way to be connected to society or to feel like their potential was allowed to be realised or have the fullest expression of itself.

"I remember in 2003 in Ireland how the country nearly fell apart under the weight of its own compassion and feelings of love and joy, and competition."

However he added that the athletes "aren't messing around".

"They'd take your head off just to get there and get ahead of you and get the medal," he laughed.

After 10 years in LA, the 39-year-old says he has become "a bit of a bore" really, especially as "bit by bit the Farrells migrated west".

His mother, two sisters, two sons and a niece all live in California now.

"So people say 'do you miss home?' but the answer is not as clear as it once was.

"That's because home came over here and I've made my own home here as well," he says.

"So I love it here. Then I get home and I realise that Ireland makes sense to me in a way that no other place in the world ever will. Just because of my deep understanding and depth of love for the place that I come from."

He says the depth of "our cultural complexities" including music, literature, community and "the pain that we share...means that I could be away from there for 50 years and I wouldn't feel any less Irish".

"I just don't get to go home as much as I used to with the kids here now."

He adds: "Ireland's not a country that you can walk from. I mean you can physically walk from it, but you carry it in you.

"I've one place that formed me in this world for 20 years before I left and I've one that offered me the opportunity to make some changes in my life and to try and figure out what it is to be a man."

He says one of his favourite things about the LA lifestyle is "good cheeseburgers".

"That's one of the cultural mainstays, I find. That's my gateway drug now.

"The next thing is pizza and Doritos at four o'clock in the morning on my own with a can of Coke," he jokes, adding: "I mix it up. I balance. Chips one day and then binge the next."

Irish Independent

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