Watch: Matt Damon thanks Irish people for being protective of his privacy

Hollywood superstar Matt Damon who has been a resident of Dalkey since early March and has decided to stay in Ireland to see out the Covid-19 pandemic.
Watch: Matt Damon thanks Irish people for being protective of his privacy
Matt Damon pictured with Mary Caviston in Dalkey, Co Dublin last month. Picture: Justin Farrelly

Hollywood superstar Matt Damon who has been a resident of Dalkey since early March and has decided to stay in Ireland to see out the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has said that he is grateful to the Irish people for protecting his privacy.

The New York Times and the Late Late Show had been on the hunt for an exclusive interview with the Massachusetts born actor who originally travelled here to shoot a film.

He was spotted around town sporting a Supervalu shopping bag and had posed for pictures with residents prior to the introduction of the Covid-19 restrictions.

In an interview which was a scoop for Dublin Radio Station Spin 1038 Damon said he "laughed so hard" when he heard of the attempts by area residents to nip the press queries about him in the bud.

Host Graham told Damon he tried to infiltrate a Dalkey Facebook group for gossip but was kicked out.

Matt said he was thrilled when he heard what local people had done for him.

"That is when I realised how great this place was and how protective everyone here is.

"I had no idea all this was happening behind the scenes and that you joined the group for one day before they found you out and booted you which is just great."

The 49-year-old actor, who is in Ireland with his wife and three of his four children, said that Dalkey was "incredible."

"This is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. Obviously what is going on in the world is horrible. But I am with my family.

"I have got my kids. We have teachers with us because we were planning on missing school for eight weeks. We have live human beings teaching our kids.

"We feel guilty. We have this incredible set-up in this place that is absolutely gorgeous.

"Even in the lockdown they say you have to stay within 2 kilometres of your house. Within two kilometres of here there is trees and forests and ocean.

I can't think of anywhere you would rather be in a 2km radius of.

Matt said that the scenery in Dalkey was "insane."

"It has changed. Now it is blooming. I thought it was incredible two months ago. Now it is ridiculous.

"It feels like I am in the middle of a fairytale. I can see why all these people live here.

"When we came in they were like 'Bono lives over here and Enya lives over here' and I get it."

Responding to the picture of him holding a Supervalu bag by the water which went viral Damon said that he was in fact carrying towels.

"That bag I think we just had the towels. I was with the kids we were taking a dip in that water.

"I think we just grabbed one of our Supervalu bags and stuffed it with stuff. We didn't show up with beach bags. We were just improvising."

The hosts told him that usually people carry cans in their plastic bags and they wondered if he was going on a "session".

Damon said that he was sure that there were cans in there originally.

"But we had to take them out to put the beach towels in."

Damon is hoping to return home to the States later this month. He and his family will return for eight weeks of shooting of the film, The Last Duel, at a later date.

"We still have this movie to make. I have got eight weeks of shooting to look forward to. I have at least a few more months here.

"This is not a bad place to wind up. Who knows what the world is going to wind up?"

Damon said that they were currently separated from their eldest child.

"Our oldest daughter is in college. She is in New York city. She had Covid really early on along with her roommates and got through it fine.

Matt Damon with wife Luciana
Matt Damon with wife Luciana

"Of our four kids we have the three youngest ones. We will reunited with her at the end of the month.

"For Lucy's Mom (wife’s mother) and my mom it is scary for that generation. We have all got the message now.

"Everyone is doing the isolation and the hand washing and the social distancing. It is frightening for our parents."

The hosts said that Matt was "weirdly prepared" for Covid as he had starred in the movie, Contagion, which was about the spread of a virus like Coronavirus.

Damon said it was nonsense to say that the pandemic couldn't have been predicted.

"Anyone who says you couldn't predict this well ten years ago, we made a movie by talking to experts and asking how this would look.

"It is upsetting. It is tragic. At least now we understand what to do."

Damon paid tribute to Leo Varadkar for his reponse to the pandemic.

You have got a President who goes to the hospital and starts working. What a bad ass. It is on another level.

"We were supposed to leave last week. We are staying until the end of the kids school year because it is so peaceful here and everyone is handling it so well.

"You walk down the street and everyone is minding all the guidelines. We are a little worried about going home."

Damon said he was delighted to be able to pick up a takeaway coffee at a local cafe.

"There is a lovely coffee place that stayed open. I was talking to the barista who was working there ther other day and she said normally this place is really buzzing and I have actually got to know all of my customers because they each come in for three to five minutes and we chat.

"Now I know all their families and what is going on. It has been beneficial to me. I thought that was a cool story."

He spoke of Facetiming with Bono and said that chatting to him was the final impetus for calling the show.

Matt told the boys that he had actually heard them on the radio in the car a month ago.

He said, "I shouldn't have put you through all this."

Damon said he was trying to memorise the station number to call in but his wife Luciana distracted him and he forgot it.

Matt revealed, "Every time I've been in the car, I've been listening for the number and it's never come up again."

It was his wife that reminded him to look up the station's number and just call in.

"She's like, 'You're such an idiot just like look up their number, you don't have to wait for them to say it.'"

Matt lives near Bono, who also happened to mention Fully Charged's appeal.

The actor said, "He said to me last week, 'you know there's a radio station that's looking for you.'"

"I was like, 'I really gotta track those guys down, I gotta call into that show. It's gone on too long.'"

The Damon sightings in Dalkey and neighbouring Killiney, which together are sometimes referred to as Ireland’s Amalfi Coast, began in March.

This was when he arrived in the area to shoot scenes for the medieval drama directed by Ridley Scott.

It was also not long before the pubs closed and police began checking if people were straying beyond their permitted 2km.

Meanwhile, in an interview on RTÉ's the Ryan Tubridy show last week Bono said that he was thrilled to have a new neighbour in Damon even if he is "upset" that the actor has been branded the “sexiest man in Dalkey”.

Bono said: “Most of us have been trying to dodge Matt Damon since (the virus film) Contagion. He’s like Johnny-no-mates.

“I’ve known him a long time. He’s an incredible human being. His family are close by.

"I’ll tell you one thing that annoys me about him, all of the locals here have voted him ‘sexiest man in Dalkey’ which I find offensive.

“He’s showing confidence in the country, he could have left, he sees the madness that’s going on in his own land, and he loves it here.”

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up