Normal People star Seán Doyle watched the hit show in lockdown - in a Dublin bedsit

Actor, Seán Doyle.
Normal People star Seán Doyle watched the hit show in lockdown - in a Dublin bedsit


I ‘acted out’ a lot when I was a kid.

Growing up in Dublin’s Firhouse, I was a real attention seeker. But I was too shy to audition for school plays or anything like that.

Things changed when I was in fourth class and a teacher kind of forced me into taking part in the play. Suddenly I was making all these new friends and getting the attention I had been craving, without having to act out any more. It all unfolded for me from there. I joined Tallaght Youth Theatre and, later on, Dublin Youth Theatre.

I did two years of Drama and Theatre Studies in Trinity before I got a role in Fair City. I’ve had loads of other jobs from working in a clothes shop and as a personal trainer to working for the 1916 Bus Company and on the Gravedigger Ghost Bus tour.

I grew up in quite a laid back family. My parents always encouraged me to do whatever made me happy. Dad is a musician and a painter. Mum is a great gardener. So they’re creative types.

I’ve been stuck in a bedsit in Dublin’s city centre for the entire screening of Normal People, during lockdown. Like everyone else involved in the series, I’m surprised and delighted at the reaction to it.

We knew what we had on our hands. We all loved the book. But you can never depend on audience reaction, no matter how good you know the work is. I think it’s a lot to do with the fact that people are craving the vulnerability and openness which the characters show.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is dealing with anxiety. I find it hard to have self belief and confidence in my ability. There is a real struggle to battle with that negative voice in my head. Yoga helps. Meditation helps.

My biggest extravagance is coffee. My favourite coffee outlet is Fuji - bizarrely the owner had a shop in Mullingar when I was doing a play there and has opened up right beside me in Dublin.

I don’t look for a particular personality trait in others - I just look into their eyes. I’m quite intuitive and it takes me about thirty seconds to decide if they’re someone I can trust.

The thing that irritates me most about others is an unwillingness to listen.

If I could be reborn as someone for a day I’d be Jesus Christ on the day he rebelled

and threw all the money changers out of the Temple.

My biggest fear is fear. I’m not sure if there’s an afterlife. I’m torn between my innate emotional spirituality and my cold rational mind.

My biggest fault is that I tend to ramble on a bit. And I’m quite introverted socially. I worry that people may think I’m arrogant but it’s just that I prefer deep one on one conversations.

My favourite phrase in times of trouble is also the best advice I’ve ever received. It’s pretty simple. When I feel that voice of discontent in my head telling me I’m not doing great and that things are terrible I imagine I’m the judge in a courtroom and I thank the voice but declare ‘It’s all good baby.’

I’m missing having real contact with other people and can’t wait to get out and explore again once the restrictions are lifted. I can’t wait to perform live again. There is a particular energy that happens when you perform live theatre and I’m yearning for that shared collective experience again.

My idea of bliss is a sunny day in Brittas Bay, a rotisserie chicken and salad roll in hand.

If I could change one thing on the schools’ curriculum, I’d change how sex education is taught. It’s misguided. There needs to be more of a focus on emotional intelligence rather on pure functionality.

I’m technically single. I started the beginnings of seeing someone at end of last year. But she’s been stuck abroad during lockdown.

The lesson in life so far is that we have to keep loving and keep learning.

Sean Doyle plays Connell's friend Eric in ‘Normal People’. All episodes are available on RTÉ Player. The hit Irish drama has been hailed an international success with an impressive celebrity fan base including Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Kourtney Kardashian and James Corden to name a few.

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