Patrick Kielty praises Irish film industry as he discusses film role debut

By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

Patrick Kielty has praised the film industry in Ireland as he described how he was initially “terrified” to walk on to the set of his first feature film.

The new Late Late show host stars in the upcoming comedy Ballywalter, which takes its title from the town in Co Down.

He stars alongside actress Seana Kerslake, best known for her role in the Irish comedy series Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope.

Speaking at the London premiere of the film on Monday, he said: “It was terrifying walking on to that set for the first time with a ton of people, because in Ireland now the film industry there is just amazing.

“So you’ve got world class people doing world class jobs and walking on there on that first morning – terrified.

“And then you realise you don’t have to prove anything to them, because it’s a team game and they’re there to carry you through it and they’re there to help you.

“And that’s why it was such a lovely thing to work on.”

He added that it had also been a “really interesting” process as it was filmed during the pandemic.

“We couldn’t really socialise, you were alone with your own thoughts and trying to build a character for a lot of the time,” he said.

“So coming together on set, you did your stuff, you became the character and you went home.”

Ireland has become a hit location for film and TV crews in the last decade, with acclaimed series like Game Of Thrones, Bad Sisters and Normal People filmed there.

Award-winning films including Belfast and The Banshees Of Inisherin have also been set and filmed on the island.

The film, which is director Prasanna Puwanarajah’s debut feature, sees Kielty’s character Shane exiling himself to Ballywalter following the break-up of his marriage, and later enrolling in a stand-up comedy course as he tries to get his life back on track.

The Late Late Show
Patrick Kielty hosted his first Late Late Show on Friday (Andres Poveda/RTE/PA) Photo by Andres Poveda/RTE

Along the way he meets university drop-out and taxi driver Eileen, played by Kerslake, and they make a surprising connection which affects their view on life.

Co Down-born Kielty said that one of the main attractions of the movie for him was that it was set in Ballywalter, which is in his home county.

“The idea of telling a story from the place that you were born, that has universal appeal, that’s something which ticks a lot of boxes and makes a lot of big smiles,” he said.

The film premiere comes as Kielty took over as host of RTÉ’s The Late Late Show on Friday, attracting an average audience of 830,000 on RTÉ One and RTÉ One +1, according to the broadcaster.

Viewers from across Ireland and the globe tuned in to watch Kielty make his debut, with a show that included Tommy Tiernan, former president Mary McAleese and footballer James McClean.

The presenter said the reception to his first Late Late Show hosting has left him “mind blown”.

He follows Ryan Tubridy as host after the presenter stood down earlier this year.

Ballywalter is in cinemas on September 22nd.