Growing up, acting never crossed my mind. I wasn’t taken to the theatre as a child. Then, one night out of the blue I was meeting a friend for a drink but, as I was bored of the pub, I suggested we do something else instead. He agreed to come to a show in The Theatre Royal in Waterford. I was gobsmacked, blown away. Afterwards, I knew I had to get involved with theatre. I just really had the feeling that I could do what the people on stage were doing.
I approached Red Kettle theatre company, it was their production of The Shaughran by Dion Boucicault, and they were kind enough to let me get involved. I spent a few months looking after props and watching them rehearse.
I was in my mid 20s by then and decided to move to Dublin and got a place in the Gaiety School of Acting. I had no experience.
When I left school, all I’d wanted was to work and start earning money. The best job I had, before acting, was a butler and houseman at Mount Congreve House. There were 16 of us in the house and 60 in the garden. It was like Downton Abbey. It’s all gone now. The owners had no heirs and once they died, the house went to the state.
My worst job was on a building site.
I’m very pig headed. Once I decided on acting, I just went my own way although my family were shocked. Acting was completely outside our experience. My dad was a builder.
Once I started acting, I was never that nervous. I was like a blank page. I had no bad habits to unlearn.
I’ve been in Fair City for 18 years now. I was on stage for years before that. I only went in for a day’s work and my agent actually advised me not to take it as it was only the day — thinking something bigger may come up, but I was totally broke and went ahead. Now, I’m one of the longest in Fair City although there are a couple of originals who have been there for 26 years.
I’ve never been a worrier. I find that things simply work out. There must be some kind of fate, I’m not sure everything that happens is completely random. For example, being in the Beauty and the Beast Cheerios panto. I didn’t know Alan Hughes, it just came out of the blue. It just happened.
My biggest fault is that I really love routine. A daily routine isn’t a bad thing, but I can become a little obsessive. Whenever I start a different job, the routine goes out the window. I don’t like upheaval.
I’m reasonably health conscious. I lost a few stone recently. I started walking everywhere and stopped eating rubbish. Simple as that.
When I hit 40 I got married and had a family and that changed my life. I never saw it on the horizon until I met my wife Sharon in Waterford on a night out. She teaches in a secondary school near our home in Duncannon in Wexford. We have two boys of four and 10. I turned 50 this year and can’t imagine life without them.
I’m a good listener and observer more than a talker. I can watch and gain by understanding. That’s more important for an actor — if you can absorb impressions it will stimulate your imagination.
I’m an à la carte Catholic. The afterlife is a lovely idea but, if you think about it, it is not logical. But it would be nice to think that all the effort in this life has not been for zilch.
I’d like to be Neil Armstrong for a day. The day he walked on the moon.
The traits I most admire in others are honesty and gentleness.
If I could change one thing in our society, I’d fix the health system. It seems nobody, and no amount of money, can get it right.
So far life has taught me that my instincts are generally right. I have followed my heart for any big decisions I’ve made in my life and, so far, it has lead me to a very happy place.