Thursday 26 April 2018

Mrs Brown's Boys' Eilish O'Carroll: 'It's immoral that children of same sex parents aren't protected by law'

Eilish O'Carroll. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine
Eilish O'Carroll. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine
Eilish O'Carroll from Mrs. Brown's Boys & creator of her one woman show 'Live Love Laugh' with her partner Marian. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine
Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Lesbian actress and playwright Eilish O’Carroll is adamant that Irish people should be allowed celebrate their relationship openly in front of family and friendly, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Speaking about the upcoming referendum, the tv star is hopeful that same-sex marriages will become legal.

"Marriage is a big deal here in Ireland and any man or woman should be allowed celebrate their relationship in front of their family and friends," Eilish told VIP Magazine.

"In this country, marriage is the only institution that gives children protection in law. Children from same-sex relationships don't have that and I think that's immoral."

Eilish is best known to the public for her role as Winnie McGoogan in Mrs Brown’s Boys, but there are many strings to her bow.

The Finglas native has written an autobiographical play entitled ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ and it turns out the title couldn’t be any more appropriate.

Eilish O'Carroll. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine
Eilish O'Carroll. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine

After she divorced her first husband in 1979, Eilish was in her 40s and happily re-married when she fell in love with a woman.

She spent several years denying her emotions for the sake of her husband and two sons Stuart and Lee, but was eventually encouraged by her clinical psychologist to come out. As it happened, the other woman felt the same, and the two women left their partners and moved in together.

The relationship did not work out, and Eilish returned to Ireland in the 1990s where she joined the ‘Lesbians in Cork’ support group.

It was here she met Marian, also in her 40s at the time, who had only recently went public with her sexuality.

The pair have been together for over twelve years, and Marian is a stage manager on ‘Live, Love, Laugh’.

“It’s almost like a confessional but I wasn’t looking for absolution,” Eilish says of the play which will be shown at different venues nationwide in the coming weeks.

Eilish O'Carroll and partner Marian. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine
Eilish O'Carroll and partner Marian. Picture: Emma Jervis Photography/VIP Magazine

“People told me that it must have taken courage because it was so honest and revealing,” she said.

Eilish, sister of funnyman and Mrs Brown’s Boys creator Brendan O’Carroll, recalled the emotional turmoil that she faced when trying to come out to her husband and sons.

“It wasn’t something I had been denying myself or hiding from,” she said. “It was like a bolt out of the blue and I just thought, ‘This isn’t happening to me!’ It disabled me emotionally.”

After putting pen to paper, Eilish submitted some of the play’s material to the Gay Theatre Festival in 2012 and found herself performing it on stage for the first time.

It took a while for her to be “proud” of the play, she admits:

“I’m of the generation that was never allowed to pat ourselves on the back in case we got too big for our boots."

Despite their long term relationship, Eilish revealed that her and Marian continue to live separately in their homes in West Cork and Cork city.

Amber Williams (left) and her sister Vogue with Eilish O’Carroll (centre) on the March for Marriage in Dublin yesterday.
Amber Williams (left) and her sister Vogue with Eilish O’Carroll (centre) on the March for Marriage in Dublin yesterday.

The witty actress stated that she has had numerous offers to bring ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ to an international audience, with promoters in UK and Australia expressing their interest.

“It’s really hard to make money in theatre, so I’ll be really happy to break even. I do it because I love it. I hope it grows into something bigger, but if it doesn’t there’ll always be something else.”


For more information, see www.eilishocarroll.com

The February issue of VIP Magazine is on news stands now.

Photography by www.emmajervis.com

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