Thursday 14 November 2019

'Kettle is on for George Clooney': townland rolls out red carpet

George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin
George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin
The Clooney homeplace in Tullahought, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Pat Moore
Peter Purcell who lives in the former homeplace of the Clooney family pictured examining some of the maps and documentation about the area
The parlour in the Clooney homeplace in Tullahought, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Pat Moore
George and Amal Clooney in Venice in 2014.
George Clooney splits his time between the US and this villa overlooking Lake Como in northern Italy

Emma Jane Hade

Residents in a rural townland have said they will have the kettle on for Hollywood actor George Clooney when he visits his Irish ancestral home this summer.

The actor revealed to the Irish Independent that he plans on making his first trip to Ireland this summer.

And Peter Purcell, who is not related to Clooney but now lives where his great-great-grandfather Nicholas was born in Tullahought, Co Kilkenny, said the star would be very welcome to visit the site where his family's homestead once stood.

"Absolutely. Of course I would welcome him," said Mr Purcell last night.

The Clooney homeplace in Tullahought, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Pat Moore
The Clooney homeplace in Tullahought, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Pat Moore

Read more: By George! Clooney's Irish ancestry revealed - his family made carpets for the Titanic

A birth certificate recovered in recent years proves that Nicholas Clooney was christened in Windgap Church in 1829. It is understood he left for America years later.

A short drive from the homestead is Abbeyleix, Co Laois, where it is believed that the George's ancestor Sarah Clooney lived and worked in a small factory that made carpets for the Titanic.

Local man Andy Ring is behind the Irish Heritage Towns website that features Abbeyleix. He revealed that Clooney's parents Nick and Nina first visited the town eight years ago and reached out to some of their relatives there.

Read more: George Clooney to holiday in Ireland with his new wife Amal Alamuddin

"There are a lot of Clooneys in Abbeyleix, but there is only one that is related to George. They called to the house of Seamus and Agnes Clooney and met the family, and invited their daughter Fiona to Kentucky to their home," Mr Ring said.

George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin
George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin

"Fiona went out there last year, Nick picked her up at the airport, so there is no nonsense here, this is real.

"When Nick and Nina went looking for their roots, they didn't come without researching it. Clooney is a hugely popular name all over Ireland, they discovered their ancestral home was in Windgap." Mr Ring said the residents of the town have embraced the Clooney heritage link with open arms.

A local folk group recorded the song 'Here's to you, George Clooney' and have uploaded it online promising "Georgie boy" that he is "welcome home".

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Peter Purcell who lives in the former homeplace of the Clooney family pictured examining some of the maps and documentation about the area
Peter Purcell who lives in the former homeplace of the Clooney family pictured examining some of the maps and documentation about the area

He said the Kentucky branch of the Clooneys have remained in contact with their Irish relatives and recently sent them a Christmas card.

He hopes the actor will be presented with a certificate of Irish heritage if he visits Ireland during the summer.

"We'll have to roll out the red carpets, since Sarah Clooney worked in a carpet factory. We'll have to do something very special. Obviously if it is George Clooney, we will have to make him a freeman of Abbeyleix," he added.

Clooney is an anglicised version of the Irish name O Cluanaigh.

The 'Gravity' star wed his glamorous barrister wife Amal in Venice last year.

Speaking to the Irish Independent this week, he said Amal had visited Ireland on a number of occasions and would accompany him here on his visit in summer.

Irish Independent

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