The shape I'm in: Patrick Bergin, actor

Patrick Bergin plays the part of Jim Tierney on TV3’s Red Rock.

The shape I'm in: Patrick Bergin, actor

TRUE to his Irish heritage, Patrick Bergin has a gift for self-deprecation. When I mention that he’s a man of many talents — actor, musician and champion of the arts — he’s quick to quip: “[I’ve] hundreds of them... And I’ve got a few talons as well.”

The Carlow native — his family moved to Dublin when he was aged three — also has a gift for telling a good yarn.

His story about how he ended up with a broken nose when he was about 10 years old is a case in point.

A boy he used to fight every day decided to get his revenge after the young Patrick “gave him and uppercut and burst his nose”.

Calling a truce, the boy offered Patrick the use of his cart which had ball-bearing wheels.

“The cul de sac where we lived was shaped like a keyhole and on one of the bends, there was a big metal green lamppost. We got on the footpath and he was pushing me at great speed and he deliberately pushed me into the lamppost.

"I hit it with my face and smashed my nose. I hit it so hard the light went on in the middle of the day. I never forgave him.”

Aged 66 and father of 20-year-old Tea, a film editor, he crisscrosses the sea, living in what he calls the “Bergin Triangle”, disappearing between Los Angeles, England and Ireland, where he has a castle near Cloughjordan — “we are building an amphitheatre there” — on the borders of Tipperary and Offaly.

But wherever work brings him, the words of this influential father — a Labour senator — are never far from his mind.

“He said the three most important things a person needs are: A roof over your head, food on the table, a flower in a vase.”

* Patrick Bergin plays Jim Tierney in Red Rock, Mondays at 9pm on TV3

What shape are you in?

In fairly good shape. A little bit heavy around the waist. I have a slight addiction to sugary things and cakes and chocolate. I walk a lot — it’s the main exercise I do. I like to swim when I get a chance. But I don’t swim regularly. I used to be a soccer player. I was third choice international youth goalkeeper for Ireland. Martin O’Neill said to me recently that he’s looking for a goalkeeper!

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Porridge and banana and raisins and milk with honey in the morning. That’ll keep me going until one or two o’clock in the day. For lunch. I like a big salad normally with a lot of avocado and the ubiquitous tomato and one can’t help a bit of coleslaw or potato salad.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

I don’t feel guilty about anything. I eat chocolate just about every day. I like a Bounty Bar, I like a Kit Kat, and I’m very, very fond of Fry’s Turkish Delight. Of an evening your indulgence would be your old cheese and onion crisps. And I’m very fond of the chilli ones these days as well.

What would keep you awake at night?

Not much. I sleep very well and I normally get some sort of 40 winks during the day. I don’t have a regular time for it. I might only go out for a minute or two but it’s great.

How do you relax?

I play music a lot — I both listen to it and play it. I did a lovely gig the other night supporting Brian Kennedy in Shepherd’s Bush. I write songs. There is a place near me here in the UK a town called Newhaven, and I do open mic in the social club there most Wednesday nights when I’m around.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Elvis and I suppose I wouldn’t mind if he brought Priscilla —— I could fancy her myself. I was very fond of Raquel Welch — I’m giving my age away now. More recently. Cameron Diaz. I worked with her once — she walks into a room and the room gets brighter. And friends.

What’s your favourite smell?

Geranium. It’s an aphrodisiac and an anti-depressant. What more do you want?

When is the last time you cried?

I had a lovely friend Danny Rogers, he was a great poet and songwriter. There is one of his songs that I sing occasionally and I can’t sing it without crying — it’s called She’s not his Little Baby Anymore.

It’s very powerful.

What trait do you least like in others?

Slyness.

What trait do you least like about yourself?

I suppose the ubiquitous sloth.

Do you pray?

Every day. I say what is known as St Patrick’s Breastplate. I do it physically — like yoga.

What would cheer up your day?

If I could find my phone. My daughter used to send me Haikus and I’ve lost of couple of them on it. I love a Haiku.

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