ONCE actress Marketa Irglova is thanking her lucky stars after narrowly avoiding injury in a car collision.
The 26-year-old ex-girlfriend of singer Glen Hansard returned to Ireland by ferry this week to promote her upcoming Dublin tour dates.
But it made for a shaky start to the trip, as the car the mother-of-one was travelling in with her 10-month-old daughter was struck by another vehicle while exiting the boat.
"I had a car collision on the way. I'm very thankful I'm here and not dead - no-one was hurt, I'll say a prayer today," the musician said. "I had the baby in the car so I'm very happy that, especially, she is okay."
Marketa won international acclaim with The Commitments star Glen (44) in 2006, for their low-budget indie romance Once and went on to scoop a Best Original Song Oscar for Falling Slowly in 2008.
The movie, which was filmed in Dublin, brought the pair together and their affair continued off screen.
However, in January 2009, Ballymun native Glen confirmed that the couple had split.
Their professional success as well as their relationship is captured in the revealing documentary The Swell Season.
Filmmakers Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis were given almost unlimited access to the duo for nearly three years.
Czech-born Marketa is now based in Iceland with her husband, music engineer Tim Iseler.
"A series of events brought me to Iceland," she told Sean O'Rourke on RTE's Radio One yesterday.
"I went there first with Glen for a concert and I got a feeling of home, although I was living in New York at the time.
"Then a friend of mine recommended a studio over there and I thought, 'Yes OK this is the time I'm going back'.
"I made my new record there and didn't feel like leaving, so I stayed," she said.
She will soon set out on a European tour and will make her Irish stage comeback.
Marketa's second solo album, entitled Muna, has just been released.
She is scheduled to take to the stage in the Unitarian Church on Dublin's St Stephen's Green on November 15 to entertain her Irish fans.
"Remembering was a theme throughout the collection of songs that make this record," she said.
"They are connected like chapters in a book... I really wanted this to be more complex with the instruments and it all came together."
Meanwhile, the musical production of the movie Once has become a massive hit, wowing audiences on both the West End and Broadway.