A HOLLYWOOD actress who grew up just miles from Fermanagh’s border is being tipped of Oscar glory for her portrayal of Kenneth Brannagh’s mother.
Born in Dublin, Caitriona Balfe grew up in neighbouring Tydavnet in north Monaghan. Having earned herself a number of Golden Globe nominations for her role in the romantic time-traveling series Outlander, there is increasing talk of potential Academy Award success for Ms Balfe off the back of her role as ‘Ma’ in the upcoming Troubles-set drama, Belfast.
Starring alongside Jamie Dornan as Da, the film was released in the US this week to rave reviews, and is due for release in theatres here after Christmas.
The film tells the story of a young boy, Buddy, growing up in the North during the 1960s. Judi Dency and Ciarán Hinds also star.
During her press tour to promote the film, which is a semi-autobiographical take on Mr Brannagh’s early childhood in Belfast, Ms Balfe has been speaking of her own experience growing up during the Troubles.
“No one who grew up in Ireland during the 1980s were unaffected by that time,” she told the Sunday World, for example.
“I was born in Dublin but we all moved to Monaghan when I was six-weeks-old because my dad was a guard and was stationed at the border. So the troubles affected my family’s life even though I didn’t live in Belfast.
“Just doing all of the research for this film and watching all of the footage from that time, was a very emotional thing. It feels so personal and you live through a lot of the things that went on. It was great doing all that research and watching all that footage for the accent, but also just to get the feel of that time.”
Best known as the time-travelling Clare Randall/Fraser in Outlander, Ms Balfe has been described in the past by the Irish Times as ‘Ireland’s secret A-lister’, in reference to the fact she is arguably more famous globally than locally, particularly in the US where Outlander is a hit prime time show.
Before moving to LA and breaking into Hollywood, Ms Balfe studied drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology, before moving to Paris where she was a supermodel for some of the world’s biggest fashion houses.
Earlier this year she announced the birth of her first child with husband Tony McGill.
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