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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-06-21 07:53:33




WTES AoibhínGarrihytalks

E to Shauna O’Halloran
about her love of the West,
the love of her life and

R the one that got away.

Top (€300) by Helen
Steele @ Costume; skirt
(€322) by Carven @
Gallery 9; bag (€180) @
Reiss; necklace (€38) @
Om Diva

COVERSTAR With family, at
least you know you’re
ome people are just born to do. Some like to contemplate, all looking out for
each other and you
Smull, ponder. Others like to get up, go and multitask. “I’m a trust each other. At
Gemini,” laughs Aoibhín. “I feel like I always need to have the same time, you
lots of projects on the go.” Our interview is taking place on a say things you would
Tuesday afternoon, following which she will have a short never say to any
turnaround to head back to her Castleknock home, undo other employer
hair and makeup and get to the Gaiety Theatre to start all
over again for her role in Breaking Dad. The Ross O’Carroll-

Kelly satire is in its third year on the stage, but it’s the first

year Aoibhín has taken on the part of Ross’ perma-tanned,

ambitious wife Sorcha. On the back of a recent theatre tour

in China with Pride and Prejudice and just ahead of taking Dublin Bay Cruises was a natural move for

The Gate’s The Importance of Being Earnest to Charleston, the Garrihy family, who are now settled in

South Carolina, it’s something of a light-relief role. “It’s Castleknock. Three years ago, Aoibhín’s dad

great, you get a completely different type of audience with pitched an idea and she, her mum and her two

something like Breaking Dad. They might not be the type sisters (one who was away at the time but has

that comes to the theatre that often, but they really enjoy the since returned) are now all involved. “He saw a

night out.” gap in the market in Dublin,” Aoibhín explains.

And well they might – Paul Howard’s Breaking Dad is “We’re a city that lives on the sea and there was

wrapping its third sell-out tour and receives nothing but rave no one on the bay. There’s no ferry service, there’s

reviews and standing ovations every time it shows. After The no one bringing you from the north side to the

Gaiety, the production moves to Limerick for a final few south side, there’s no-one taking you across the

nights before Aoibhín heads off to the US with The Gate in bay. He thought, this is madness. Most cities

May. But even this doesn’t prove diverse enough for Aoibhín, that have a harbour do something with it. So he

who also finds herself managing the PR and marketing for took his idea to Fáilte Ireland and said, ‘Look,

her family’s fledgling tourism business, Dublin Bay Cruises, this is our shop window, we want to be the city

and running a drama school teaching 70 four to 16-year- that is a breath of fresh air’, and they were really

olds in Ennis – which is, by the way, where she lives half of for it.” Three years on and things are starting

the week. “When you get out of the bubble of college and to look good for the startup but it has not been

realise the industry is a tough one – people warn you all the without its challenges. “It was a bit of a labour

time – you realise ‘I need to develop a coping mechanism’,” of love – working with family and everything,

she offers by way of explanation. “For me it’s about having learning things about each other you never knew

enough diversity. Having a few irons in the fire.” before!” she admits. “I guess, with family, at

Entrepreneurship is in Aoibhín’s blood. She grew up with least you know you’re all looking out for each

parents who worked together in a family business one way or other and you trust each other. At the same time,

another and spent all her summers as a child in Doolin, Co you say things you would never say to any other

Clare and on the Aran Islands, where her father and uncles employer! And you learn things you never knew

run the Doolin Ferries that operate the Cliffs of Moher cruises [about your parents] before. Of course, some of

and island trips. It’s one reason why she loves the duality of them drive you mad! But I’ve learned things like

living in Dublin for one half of the week and in Ennis with her Dad’s resilience and his positivity and constant

fiancé John for the second part. “It’s nice to have the balance glass-half-full attitude. I guess when you grow up

of city living and rural life as well. We would spend summers with that you take it for granted.”

in the Aran Islands. My mum would take us out for two or It’s clearly brushed off on his daughter. Aoibhín,

three weeks every year. They used to be better than any trip who came to prominence as Neasa in Fair City is

we’d ever go on. It was all so simple – just a picnic down on a veritable ray of sunshine. And while she admits

the beach, a sandwich and a few crisps or whatever. The céilís that the experience of being a household name

were on in the evenings at the coláiste and we used to go and had both pluses and its minuses, she loves being

throw the head in there, eyeing up the lads! It was great.” able to dip back in to the soap as the script calls

for it, as she did last December. “It’s always better

to be leaving in a taxi than in a box,” she jokes. However,

the gruelling scheduling (“they film the equivalent of a film a

week”) and the inevitable merging of real life and character

life was enough to need a break after three years. “Ireland’s

small and you get really associated with the role you play,”

she said. “I was worried about it when I started first, because

I came in as a bit of a home-wrecker. And because you’re

Top (€1,540) by Sacai, playing a character for so long it becomes your alter ego.
trousers (€195) by When people would call me Neasa in the street, I would
Whistles and earrings answer, because you just become that person. The writers
(€155) by Marni, all @

Brown Thomas; shoes start to write with you in mind, your mannerisms…so you
(€435) by Tara Jamon do kind of morph into the person, in strange circumstances.”
@ Arnotts



She also notes that being in everyone’s the boards has given her a new zest for the
thespian life. And she notes that no matter
living rooms somehow makes you fair how stellar an actor’s career goes, the thrill
of theatre is something very special. “You
fodder for commentary, no matter where can see Saoirse [Ronan] on Broadway after
doing those blockbusters. I think it’s just
you might be. Whether it be a “What are side of things! We didn’t have a module the fact that you can really own it.

you doing shopping in Dunnes?” from a in business, which is mad. Because as an “I’m enjoying it more and more as I get
older because I think the roles get meatier.
local in Clare, to remarks about her on- actor, you’re your own company, you’re a When you leave college first, you tend to
get ‘pretty little girl’, and you’re always the
screen family as if they were her own, or freelancer, you’re a brand. But there was victim. Now, the parts are becoming more
interesting.” There was a time, when the
worse. “The Irish are gas. When they’re none of that. And I mean, tax and me...I part in The Fall came up, that she had an
American agent and Aoibhín had taken
sober, they don’t come near you. When hadn’t a clue when I came out of college.” on the challenge of self-taping auditions
from Ireland for parts in the home of
they’re drunk, they get really brave and say Another thing they don’t teach you at the industry in LA. “They were sending
me like 10 scripts a day, to self-tape and
things they shouldn’t say!” drama school is how to push brand you, send back. And I felt completely snowed,
like overwhelmed.” There is, it seems, no
Even so, leaving the regular and ongoing and Aoibhín admits that having to put temptation to take the plunge and do the
year or so in LA with the hope of landing
work of a soap for the unknown was a yourself out there is something that takes some US work. “So many of my pals have
gone over and said it’s definitely a learning
giant leap of faith and, while originall the some getting used to. “Promoting yourself experience. But for a learning experience
alone? And the success rate is so small...LA
plan may have been to try London, some – that jars with a lot of actors. I feel like, just doesn’t really do it for me.”

new passions entered her life at the same just from marketing the business, that I For this girl from the West, the passion
lies in the story-telling element of the craft.
time. One, the family business, the other, have more of a handle on that now. A lot of While she’s the first to take up acting in
her family, performance is definitely in
her fiancé John Burke who owns and runs actors find that really hard to get their head her bloodline. Her maternal grandfather is
Chris Droney – the nine-time All-Ireland
the Armada Hotel at Clare’s Spanish Point. around that. But, simply because needs concertina player, while her father’s father,
Jack Garrihy was a notorious story-teller
The pair are set to wed this September at must and for the business I needed to get a in his day. At home, the three sisters
spent their childhood doing impressions
the property – which apart from being an handle on it, I did fairly quickly!” of their school teachers and charging
their parents to watch shows they staged
obvious choice, was also named Ireland’s It’s a roundedness that not all acting talent in their front room. Acting was always
what Aoibhín wanted to do, and felt like
Wedding Venue of the Year by Weddings can reconcile. Aoibhín’s sister, Doireann, a natural progression in her life. The irony
is, she says, that since she has turned her
Online. “I’m hoping he’ll be able to switch also an actor and who is involved in the attention to her other business endeavours,
the roles are coming thick and fast. “It’s
off!” she says of the big day itself. “It’s drama school, is currently concentrating when you don’t need it that the work starts
coming in.” There’s also the small issue of
going to be a celebration of the area, the on a career in radio instead (“she loved the a wedding to mind in just a few months’
time. “It kind of messes with theatre
local produce...and just a bit of a hooley doing of it,” Aoibhín says, “but she didn’t runs...I mean, people just won’t shut down
a theatre run on a Saturday night for you to
really. We want it relaxed. My dress – I’m love the other stuff”). go and get married!”

dying to have pockets put into it!” The The ‘other stuff’ includes the publicity What she does know is that Ireland is
the place for her for now and home will
dress is currently being made by an Irish wheel, the constant auditioning and those always be the West. And what better time
for acting talent to be at home? “It’s an
designer (the who exactly is hush-hush, but really special roles you get your heart set exciting time. There are a lot of production
companies over here at the moment and
I get as far as finding out that ‘she’ is an on but which don’t come off: The one there are amazing people raising the bar
all the time,” Aoibhín agrees. “It’s great
amazing and well-known talent). that got away. For Aoibhín, it was a role to see RTÉ and Irish drama do period, or
our version of it,” she adds, referencing the
It’s clear that Aoibhín’s in the film adaptation of recent spate of 1916-themed dramas hitting
Irish screens. “Incredible actors used to
heart lies in the West of Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn. think, ‘If I want to do this seriously I need
to get out of here’. But to see them stay and
Ireland. The ceremony will The closer “I auditioned for the part work here is amazing – it’s what it’s all
you get to the about.” And long may it last.
take place in a church in of her friend and I got,
her family’s hometown of like, two then three then
Doolin and the proposal four call backs for it,”

itself took place on the role, the more she laments. “I felt a real
Cliffs of Moher – Burke and more connection to the story.
enlisted the help of their you invest in My auntie emigrated the
huge and beautiful Dogue day my dad was born.
de Bordeaux, Rubie, who She was 17 and she went

he got to wear a specially it. To not get to visit my dad and my
engraved tag on her collar those ones, nana just as she left for
with the words ‘Marry Me?’ never gets the States. I just imagine
etched into it. “I’m happiest my nana and always
when I’m in the West,” thought about how she

Aoibhín agrees. But I’m also would have been feeling,
with her eldest daughter
easy reallysomeone who needs to be

busy. To have that option – leaving, just as her son was

of the motorway [laughs] – being born – those mixed

is good. And I am going on tour now, so emotions. Anyway, I had read the book and

I’m open to travelling if the acting needs I read the script and went for the auditions

it. But I think I’ll always have my base in and I felt that, God, I would really kill for

Clare with John. That’s the plan...With an this one. And the closer you get to the role,

option to get in the car if needs be,” she the more and more you invest in it. To not

adds, with a grin. get those ones never gets easy. Especially

The diversity of her various work-lives when you see it on screen and how it has

doesn’t seem to cause Aoibhín any extra done so well! In hindsight though, I think

stress. On the contrary, she believes that they made great choices with the casting.”

the skills she uses to run her businesses And as much as the film industry is

are essential to surviving life as an actor. something to aspire to (“the money and the

“It’s a different part of the brain. But it lifestyle of TV and film is obviously very

only enhances what I do. I think it helps appealing”), theatre, for now, is where it’s

me choose which jobs I take and jobs I at for Aoibhín. Following parts in Love/

don’t and my tolerance to the arty farty Hate and The Fall, a return to treading

Dress (€1,740) by
Roksanda @ Brown
Thomas; leather jacket
(€1,200) by BCBG
Max Azria @ Arnotts;
earrings (€45) by
Capulet and Montague
@ Atelier 27 at Om Diva

Dylan Madden
HAIR by Carla Rose McQuillan
MAKEUP by Celebrity makeup
artist Christine Lucignano using
CHANEL Hydra Beauty and
Rouge Coco Stylo
NAILS by Pamela Laird using
CHANEL Le Vernis and Body
Excellence Hand Cream

Shot on location at
The Hilton Dublin Kilmainham;


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