Dominic West, the British actor with the perfect American accent, star of The Wire and The Affair among other things, was in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry last Saturday for a 1916 centenary event honoring those from North Kerry who took part in the Rising.
West’s Irish roots run deep and he’s spent loads of time in Ireland in the past, including as an acting student at Trinity College where he met his wife Catherine Fitzgerald, who was raised in Glin Castle in Co. Limerick, daughter of the last Knight of Glin Desmond Fitzgerald.
“My mother’s parents were both Irish and my father’s mother was Irish. I sound English. I sound English and grew up in England, but like so many millions we consider ourselves Irish,” West told Radio Kerry on Friday.
The acting Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan, a Kerryman himself, was speaking to West a while back about the Ballybunion event. As it turns out, West’s cousin-in-law Judge Richard Johnson, a nephew of one of those who died in the Rising, was planning on attending, and West expressed interest too. Deenihan asked if West would be up for reading the Proclamation.
“I said I thought it would sound a bit odd with an English accent, and [Deenihan] said as long as you do it with gusto it will be okay,” said West.
That’s exactly what he did. The day was a big success and there are YouTube/Twitter pics of West doing the reading and meeting fans – the vast majority of them women, of course, who are hooked on Showtime’s The Affair and West’s lying, cheating yet still alluring character Noah Solloway.
Now based in London with his wife and four children, West told Radio Kerry of his interest in Irish history. “Part of the reason I wanted to go to Trinity and live in Ireland is I suppose because I felt very much drawn to Irish history and my own history,” he said, adding that two of his sisters also lived in Dublin.
He also shared a story about taking his two young boys to a Gaelic football summer camp in a remote Irish town last year, but his alter ego Noah managed to catch up with him.
“I thought I was fairly safe out there, but all the mothers were looking at me and going, ‘Dominic, we love the show.’ It was rather embarrassing in front of my boys,” he laughed, given that he spends a fair amount of time in The Affair in various states of undress. “There’s no hiding.”