The actor and writer chats to Chloe Brennan about sundowners in Venice, good underwear, and his Communion outfit.
My partner, Gabriele. We've been together seven years, dividing our time between Dublin, Connemara - where I film Ros na Run - and his hometown of Venice. We've a cat, Prince, who's a ginger Persian rescue cat. He's certainly well-named, as he rules with an iron claw!
Getting accepted into the actor training programme at Trinity College back in 2000. It was a very competitive audition process and, somehow, I managed to convince the department to give me a place on the course. Those were probably the three most challenging, informative and rewarding years of my life.
The moment of the day
In Venice, they live for their aperitifs after work; a glass of Prosecco or an Aperol Spritz. Those moments, looking out on to the lagoon as the sun sets above St Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace, are to die for. Not even the mosquitoes, feasting on Irish blood, can sully the moment.
My friends joke that when my coffin leaves the church, Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road will be blasting from the sound system. I discovered the song - nay, anthem - during a summer abroad in 2002. As it was the only CD in the bare apartment, I kept playing it on repeat. In fairness, even if the entire contents of HMV had been at my disposal, I'd probably still have opted for that one particular Elton track. Once I like something, I love it!
I adore screwball comedies from the 1930s and 1940s. A definite highlight from this era is Frank Capra's It Happened One Night, with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. It was the first of just three films ever to sweep the five major Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. And deservedly so.
I arrived a little late to the party, but I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and devoured it in almost one sitting. Someone recently asked me, 'What book do you wish you'd written?' This delight would definitely be high on my list. As would Jonas Jonasson's The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. I do enjoy a giggle!
During the pandemic, I've been incredibly humbled by all of the many men and women keeping the country running - those working in hospitals, supermarkets, public transport or the newsrooms, for instance. I hope these sectors will be rewarded with better working and pay conditions in the future.
My First Holy Communion outfit was rather spiffy, if I do say so myself - white chinos with a red cardigan, complete with white shoes and a matching bow tie. A few years later, however, I went through an ill-advised phase of wearing socks and sandals, so my sartorial output hasn't always been 'on point' as the kids say.
Late last year, I visited Portugal, where a fortune-teller told me 2020 was going to be a chaotic year for the world - little did we know! - and that everyone would need to find ways of rooting and grounding ourselves. Inspired, I bought a necklace made from local Portuguese cork. Silly as it sounds, it has comforted me whenever things have gotten a little overwhelming during recent months.
As much as I love print books, Kindles and various other electronic reading devices are a godsend - particularly when you're on the go and want to travel light but also want to read. I'm rarely without my Kindle.
My best friend is Ruth Keane, and we met in playschool. Thirty-three years later, we still haven't left each other's side, and I hope we never do.
My father always insisted that before we got to know another country, we should know our own first. And so, before reaching double digits, I'd visited all 32 counties on the island of Ireland. Our family's favourite spot was Valentia Island, off the coast of Kerry. There's a good reason why Kerry is called the Kingdom.
An elderly countrywoman once advised me to 'always wear good underwear as you never know who'll be seeing them!' She later clarified that she was referring to the mortician, unsurprising given her vintage, but it's also sound advice for lotharios and those mindful of personal hygiene.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine