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Kiss Her, She's Irish. Plus: Maureen O'Hara & "Connemara Days"

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all Irish or Irish-appreciatin' readers out there. There are numerous male Irish actors who get plentiful attention. In fact, there almost always seems to be a new one tearing the screen up. Case in point: Michael Fassbender (Irish/German), who we're suddenly not so sure we're happy about sharing with the entire world. How will there be enough to go round? He's slim as it is and WE SAW HIM FIRST, DAMNIT.

The actresses never get much attention. We seem to go whole decades without an important Irish export winning substantial popularity or acclaim. So why not celebrate today's working actresses?

But first, we must bow to the greatest of them all, Maureen O'Hara. How adorable are these photos which I nabbed from Mothic Flights and Flutterings and Stirred, Straight Up With a Twist who writes of the image to your right...

After a few green beers, this photo of Maureen O'Hara will begin to make sense.

Gah. Don't you just love Maureen O'Hara? The world is totally in need of an O'Hara revival. I must seek her out and beg for an interview or something. POTENTIALLY EXCITING MAUREEN O'HARA NEWS AT THE END OF THIS POST.

Okay, after the jump some current stars. Who do you love?


Claime to Fame: "Yes I saw him. I saw him with my own eyes." She saw him with her own ice blue eyes in Atonement! Other roles: La Pfeiffer's daughter in I Could Never Be Your Woman, a mysterious hanger-on in The Way Back, the dead heroine of The Lovely Bones and the deadly anti-heroine of Hanna (see previous post).

Fiona Shaw and Kerry Condon 

Claims to Fame (Fiona): Genuine stage greatness, Harry Potter's auntie, awesome out lesbian, batshit crazy scene stealing in The Black Dahlia.
Claims to Fame (Kerry): The deflowering of James McAvoy in The Last Station. Other notables: Angela's Ashes, Ned Kelly, "Octavia of the Julii" in HBO's Rome.

Brenda Fricker and Evanna Lynch

Claims To Fame (Fricker): Won the Supporting Actress Oscar for My Left Foot (1989). She hasn't been seen much recently but her film schedule is picking back up. She's got four films on the way including Albert Nobbs with Glenn Close.
Claim to Fame (Lynch): "Luna Lovegood" in the Harry Potter franchise. Will she get any real opportunities once that series closes this coming winter or will they mistake her for her eccentric character and deem her difficult to cast? This happens all the time despite the obvious fact that actors are not actually their film characters. 

Genevieve O'Reilly and the Bolger Sisters

Claim to Fame (Genevieve): She played Princess Di in the 2007 miniseries and she's also popped up in blockbuster franchises Star Wars ("Mon Motha") and The Matrix films ("Officer Wirtz") and prestige dramas (The Young Victoria) but larger fame is elusive.
Claim to Fame (Sarah & Emma): Played the endearing tiny sisters in In America (2003), two of the best child actor performances of the past decade. They're both still working at 20 and 15 years of age. Sarah Bolger, the elder sister (her IMDb photo is SERIOUSLY out of date. Child stars do grow up.) is definitely on the rise. In 2009 she picked up two 'rising star' type of awards in Berlin and in Ireland and she's had big roles on Showtime's The Tudors and in The Spiderwick Chronicles. Next up three possibly major deals with Locke & Key (TV franchise in development with major behind the scenes powerhouses involved), and lead or co-star roles in two genre outings Moth Diaries and Starbright.

The most intriguing future outing for Sarah, at least for us cinephiles, might be a romantic comedy titled Connemara Days. I don't quite understand the details and the director Kevin Connor's has mostly worked in television. But the plot revolves around the filming of the John Ford classic The Quiet Man (1952) starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. There's no word on who would play those legendary movie stars but they are not the main characters. The film is about a young woman who falls for John Ford's assistant director during the making of. It will be filmed in the same village where The Quiet Man was filmed.


Actors rumored to be involved include Thomas Dekker, Sarah Bolger, Aidan Quinn, Geraldine Chaplin, Brenda Gleeson, Sir Roger Moore and Stacy Keach. The film's Facebook page even says that Maureen O'Hara herself is in the cast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What? This is not confirmed by IMDb but the movie also isn't that close to shooting so who knows. MAUREEN O'HARA HAS NOT MADE A FEATURE FILM SINCE 1991 (Only the Lonely). She is 90 years old.

But back to the Irish actresses. The pickings are slim for major Irish actresses. I'm sure I missed some people but the male stars are plentiful and much much much more famous (Fassbender, Farrel, Murphy, Byrne, etcetera infinity). I've always wondered why that is. Australia (just to name a random example) churns out one female star for every male star, don't they? Why not Ireland?

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Reader Comments (15)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I think all of these actresses (plus Susan Lynch and Orla Brady) should band together and make an Irish actress film to combat At Swim Two Birds which seems to star all of the Irish actors.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSVG

Wow! So happy to know that at least one of the Bolger sisters is working! They were the best child performances I've seen ever!

I also like Brenda Fricker, but she never had a good role like in My Left Foot.

So, the biggest Irish actress (currently working) is Saiorse Ronan. This girl has a future, trust me.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLouis

I absolutely adore Saoirse Ronan. I thought her performance in Atonement was superb, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to seeing what Joe Wright does with her this time in Hanna.

Every time I think about Fiona Shaw, I see her craziness in The Black Dahlia. Bummer that movie was so bad, because she was great.

I'd totally forgotten about Only the Lonely! I used to watch it all the time with my sisters. We LOVED it.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeelay!

Fionnula Flanagan! Most will remember her as the creepy housekeeper Mrs. Mills in the best ghost story of the new millennium, The Others (which totally should have brought her more work!), but she was also great in smaller roles in Transamerica and The Invention of Lying. AND, she's currently(?) in theatres in Kill the Irishman... which, judging by the title alone, is either the absolute worst or the most appropriate film ever to show on St. Patrick's Day.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Ahhhhhhhh this is SO exciting!! I was busy yesterday and couldn't comment ( don't want you to think I've been featured and disappeared lol). I obviously LOVE/obsess over Maureen O'Hara... Really hope the rumor is true, and the movie itself sounds super amazing! There is a LOT to tell about the making of TQM.

Also love Ronan; really fabulous and unique. Me thinks she will go in the vain of Jodie Foster rather than Lindsay Lohan... And LOVE Fiona Shaw- saw her in Medea a few years back and the memory is still very fresh in my mind. One of the top 3 performances I have ever seen in the theater.

March 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeehee

Who do I love? Saoirse! Especially her eyes. Couldn't help it if I tried. And of course her performance in the otherwise not so great "Atonement". She's also the best thing in the otherwise not so great "Lovely Bones".

Btw, since you randomly mention Australia as an example for churning out female stars, you almost force me to write this:
The next (or maye next after the next) is on her way, and her name as Marny Kennedy.
Just wait a few years, you'll see. ;-)

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDominik

Dominik -- duly noted.

Leehee -- medea with Shaw. am jealous now.

March 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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April 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarltonWO

What a lovely post this is and I couldn't agree more: Maureen O'Hara is the BEST! I'm afraid I have to kill off the rumour and say that Ms. O'Hara will not be in Connemara Days, no matter how much I was that were true. BUT - to make up for my bad news I have great news to all Maureen O'Hara fans: June 17th to 26th there is a Maureen O'Hara Classic Film Festival in her adopted home town of Glengarriff, Co.Cork!! The grand lady herlself will be there and there will be screenings of many of her most loved and some forgotten gems. There will also be a variety of Classic Hollywood's greatest films! As if that wasn't enough there will be prominet guest speakers, entertainment and much much more!
For more info see or write

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