Hollywood actor George Clooney plans to return to Ireland next year following a brief visit to meet his cousins over the Easter break.
The planned family get together was organised by his parents, renowned broadcaster Nicholas (aged 85) and his writer wife Nina (aged 80), who touched down into the country from the US last week.
He was accompanied by his human rights lawyer wife, Amal, and two-year-old twins Alexander and Ella. The couple hosted the family reunion at the five-star, award-winning luxury hotel Ballyfin House in Co. Laois to also mark the actor’s first visit to Ireland.
Distant cousin Andy Ring who met with the 57-year-old actor explained: “They are talking about coming back again next year but qualified that by saying that he could be back before then as he does a lot of things on impulse.
“I never met a more entertaining man he truly regaled us all for hours. Conversations just flowed amongst us. He and Amal were totally down to earth with us all.
Even though we have known of each other for a long time - he really honestly is the nicest person I ever met.
"There were around 15 of us there to meet them at the hotel and the jokes and banter was wonderful. He really listened intently to the conversation. He wanted us all to take photos together for the memory books.
"It was a great surprise to us when we were told that George, Amal and the kids were coming along to meet us.”
The family jetted out of Ireland on Sunday morning but not before also meeting with U2 frontman Bono and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for dinner on Friday and Saturday night.
In 2005, an American genealogist discovered George Clooney’s Irish roots in Windgap, Co Kilkenny, and Abbeyleix, Co Laois, resulting in his parents visiting 12 years ago.
The Clooneys have Irish heritage on both sides of the family, though most significantly on the paternal side.
His father’s great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Clooney, emigrated to the US from Co Kilkenny.
George's relative, Sarah Clooney, who was born in Abbeyleix and died a few years ago, worked in a factory also in the town which made carpets for the Titanic.