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Harry Potter actors talk about their native Ireland

[from The Courrier Press]

Irish actress Fiona Shaw, Aunt Petunia in the Harry Potter films, hails from County Cork. She thinks the Irish are such great storytellers because "They're great liars. I've had a fair amount of stories told to me when you're expecting to be paid or a contract to be done or a promise to be kept. 'Oh, yes, well the thing was the dog ran off with it.' It has something to do with the fact that if you take everything away from people, it'll heighten what they have got, and the Irish were not allowed wealth and weren't allowed opportunity or language, to speak their own language. And they weren't allowed religion. But, of course, nobody could stop them talking."

Kenneth Branagh, Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was born in Belfast. He says, "There's an ultimate certainty about not taking yourself too seriously which is not to say that one can't employ seriousness of purpose about all sorts of things, but there are just times when it's (better to laugh)... The Vikings came in, then Cromwell came in and walked all over us. The British tried to mangle our culture like they did many other cultures globally. Somehow the Irish had a sort of lyricism about it - 'Oh, don't worry about it, let's go have a drink or sing a song...' You feel it in the people. They are great survivors."


Published March 10, 2004

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