Aged only nine, Saoirse Ronan showed she was destined for Golden Globe and Oscar success on RTÉ’s “The Clinic.”
Ireland awoke full of pride this morning to learn that while we snoozed, 23-year-old Irish actress Saoirse Ronan had nabbed herself a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in “Lady Bird.” Already having picked up two Oscar nominations for “Atonement” (when she was just 13 years old) and “Brooklyn,” the New-York-born Carlow native is surely to pick up her third in 2018.
Yet while she was starring in Hollywood movies from the time she was a pre-teen, it was on Irish TV that Ronan made her debut, her father, an actor himself, having picked up on her talent at a very young age.
In an endearing interview with her dad, Paul Ronan, on RTÉ’s Late Late Show, a then 16-year-old Ronan looks back on her spell in “The Clinic,” a hit Irish drama from the 2000s, and what it felt like to be on set alongside her family for the first time.
The interview shows a throwback clip of father and daughter acting together when she was only nine, with Ronan going on to appear in four episodes of the show as Rhiannon Geraghty.
The award-winning “The Lovely Bones” star wasn’t the only popular Irish actor to appear in “The Clinic.” The show had a six-year run, and many of Ireland’s most well-known actors made a stop there at some point, including Chris O’Dowd before “Moone Boy,” “Bridesmaids” and “The Incredible Jessica James”plunged him into international waters; “The Hobbit” dwarf Aidan Turner; and “Game of Thrones” favorites Liam Cunningham and Ian McElhinney.
Just a year later, Ronan was back on Irish TV screens in 2010 in “Proof.” We can see exactly how this role prepared her for Lady Bird. So much sass for her mother!
The Late Late Show interview also gives a fascinating insight into life as a child actor and the exhaustion involved when going on press tours and traveling around the world to promote a movie, on top of the sometimes grueling sets when filming.
Tayto crisps and tea are what Ronan says keep her grounded, however, while her proud dad shows himself as bodyguard-in-chief, especially when it comes to the increased male attention Ronan received as a young woman very much on the public eye.
In what seems fitting after a Golden Globes where sexual misconduct and harassment were highlighted, Paul Ronan had some careful words for the older men sending his teenage daughter fan mail.
“I don’t know what they want but I know what I’d like to give them,” he states.
Very obviously his daughter's biggest cheerleader, Paul Ronan also talks about the moment when he got the call to say she’d been nominated for her first Oscar, staying up through the night to receive the news while she was filming in New Zealand.
What do you make of Saoirse Ronan's debut? Was she always destined for stardom?