The episode we’d watched just before visiting featured a really nice scene between John Joe and baby Jay, so while we were in the green room I mentioned it to Niall Mac Eachmharcaigh who plays John Joe, which led to a conversation about the fun and challenges of working with small children. I was sitting next to Danny Mac Eachmharcaigh (Niall) at that point, who has a lot of scenes with Liam Óg, and it was interesting to hear from different actors about their experiences working with different babies and children. It seems sometimes on-set kiddies are perfectly happy, but other times they get anxious if they can’t see Mommy or Daddy, but then other times if they do see Mommy or Daddy they want to go to her or him, and sometimes they just want to stare at the boom mike hanging over their heads. (If you’ve ever noticed TV babies who keep looking straight up, that’s why.) But everyone also concluded that Niall/John Joe is just plain good with children, and he admitted bashfully that babies do really like him.
The last member of the cast we got to meet was Domhnall O’Donoghue (Pádraig), who also wasn’t filming that day, but came in just to meet us. He and I had also become online friends over the years and we played a bit of text-tag during the afternoon as he was trying to figure out when would be a good time and place to meet us. He sent me a message while I had my phone turned off because we were filming, and I think he and Annamaria played phone tag for a bit, and eventually they arranged for us to meet at An Cruiscin Lan for drinks at the end of the day. You’re probably tired of hearing it, but Domhnall is also a wonderful guy: very smart, funny, thoughtful, kind, welcoming, and generous. He’s one of those people where you can just tell that there’s always a lot going on in his head, and it was really fun to get to know him better personally, but also to hear his thoughts on the show, its role in Irish culture, and the portrayal of gay characters, with all the privileges and opportunities and responsibilities that come with having such a powerful media voice. You can tell he’s a writer because he thinks and talks like one! (I mean this as high praise, if that’s not obvious.) I feel like I learned a lot and got a better understanding of Ros na Rún as an institution, the Gaeltacht and Ireland, and the media from talking to him—but in a completely enjoyable way, because he’s such a nice easygoing guy, and also hilarious.
One person I sadly didn’t get to meet but want to mention is Brídín Nic Dhonncha, who plays Gráinne. She’d been very sweet and helpful during the planning of our trip to Galway, and we were looking forward to finally meeting in person, but then at the last minute her little boy got sick and then she caught it too, so we weren’t able to see each other. The perils of trying to make plans during cold and flu season! But Brídín was so kind and generous that I feel like I know her even though we haven’t actually met.
Another person I was excited to meet was producer Deirdre Ní Fhlatharta, whom I recognized from interviews and articles I’ve seen and read about the show. I was surprised that she actually knew about me and my Ros na Rún Recaps blog, and she thanked me for the work I do and told me it meant a lot to the people who make the show to have such loyal fans. We talked about how important the show is socially and culturally, and also about how it’s just plain GOOD and fun to watch, and it was one of my favorite conversations of the day. Throughout the day we ran into a few people who knew of me, or at least knew that there was somebody out there writing Ros na Rún recaps, and that was very strange, but very nice! A couple of times when I was being introduced to someone it went something like this:
The most thrilling moment of that night was on the way to the pub when we almost got hit by a car while crossing the street. I had a momentary flash of, “Oh my God, I’m going to be in the newspapers as that American who got killed that time Emmet from Fair City got hit by a car!” Fortunately, we dodged the car and all three of us lived to tell the tale. A number of people in the pubs recognized Daithí, so there was a bit of light squealing and some, “I’m the biggest fan of the show, all my friends will tell you that about me!” and some posing for photos, and he was a true gentleman about all of it. I also enjoyed it when I could see people sneaking looks at him because they knew they knew him from somewhere but couldn’t figure out from where. I also overheard a guy whispering to his friend at the bar, “Isn’t that your man there from Fair City?”