Ian McElhinney is special guest at Concert in Kilbride
Internationally acclaimed actor Ian McElhinney will be the special guest at a concert in Kilbride Community Centre this Friday evening (May 18th).
The Game of Thrones star will read a selection of poems during a special celebration of the life and ministry of the late Canon Liz McElhinney.
This week the busy actor took time out from his schedule to speak with the Roscommon People. He begun by explaining why he will be in Roscommon on Friday night.
“Liz was married to my cousin, Cyril McElhinney. When she was diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease) she moved from Roscommon to Lurgan and spent some time writing poetry…I thought it would be nice to record them in a studio and I suggested this at the time to Liz and Cyril…for their own sustenance. So I did, and I gave each of them a copy”.
Following Liz’s sad passing, a Memorial Service was held in Lurgan, and Ian was asked to read some of the poems on that occasion, which he did, along with his son, Matthew.
“It was a wonderful event and it raised a lot of money for MND. As Roscommon was Liz’s final parish, it was decided to hold a Celebration there too”.
I asked the Belfast-born actor for his memories of Liz.
“She was a naturally vibrant person. If she was talking to you, you were the focus of her attention, she had a great ability to be totally focussed on you. Liz was very positive with her faith, totally committed to her faith. Also, she was extraordinarily youthful. That’s why I found it so hard when she became ill, so hard to comprehend…this person who I always knew as youthful and vibrant. You would think she would go on forever”.
These are busy times for Ian McElhinney. (“I’m glad to be busy…as actors we don’t have pensionable jobs” he quips).
Ian’s range of work is remarkable. He has had roles in several of the most popular TV series’ of recent decades, including Cold Feet, The Bill, Lovejoy, Taggart, Queer as Folk, Holby City, Doctors, Casualty, The Tudors, The Fall…and on and on it goes!
There have been film roles too, and of course readers will be familiar with his role as Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones.
More recently he has starred as the Grandpa Joe’ in the massive Channel 4 hit, ‘Derry Girls’.
“We expected it to be a success at home” Ian reflects when I ask him about the series. “But we didn’t expect it to be such a success across the water (in the UK). We had great fun doing it and I gather it’s been Channel 4’s biggest comedy success in years. A new series has been given the go-ahead and we will start filming in October or November this year” .
An instantly recognisable face, his career brings him around the world, but this Friday he will spend a few very special hours in Kilbride in Co. Roscommon, for poignant and special reasons, and for what ultimately is a celebration of a cherished person’s life.
Ian: “I will be honoured to read Liz’s poems in Kilbride on Friday night. This event will raise funds for MND and it will be a celebration of Liz. She was very warm and personable, vibrant…a wonderful person”.