10 Minutes With…Father Ted star Pauline McLynn

Pic: Robbie Reynolds

Pauline McLynn is all smiles when we catch up with her in Dublin Castle.

The actress is wrapped up warm as we sit in the gardens and chat soon turns to other Irish talent. She’s a fan of Paul Mescal, as well as gushing about her former Father Ted co-star Ardal O’Hanlon.

They recently appeared in Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything where they played a married couple and she was delighted to reunite with the Monaghan man. 

After a round of belly laughs with the hilarious Pauline, we got down to business. Here’s how we spent 10 minutes with Pauline…

Pic: VIPIreland.com

Pauline, how are you getting on?

I’m great thanks.

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

I fed myself and made myself a cup of coffee.

Not tea?

[Laughs] Not first thing in the morning, no. I prefer coffee. Tea is for the later in the day. I like my tea very weak so when you’re out and about it sometimes can arrive too strong for me. I can’t trot a mouse across my tea. I can’t drink that.

Who would play you in a movie? Maybe your on-screen daughter, Sheridan Smith?

Oh, she’s a lovely looking girl so I would be very happy with that. Apparently, Judge Rinder has an assistant who looks very like me. I saw her once and I said, “Ah, yea, she does.” Better looking, of course. [Laughs] But I don’t think she’s an actor. So let’s go with Sheridan.

Pic: Sky

Tell us what your perfect day would look like.

A nice summer’s day, in the garden, picking a few raspberries. Eating them and talking to myself as I go. There’s a lot to figure out, generally. Gardening is really good for that because I can talk out loud and only the neighbours can hear me. They don’t know what I’m doing. Except when I’m shouting, they probably think I’m having a row with someone. I’m having a row with myself.

Dead or alive – who are your three ideal dinner guests?

Freddie Mercury, Graham Norton and Jane Austen. I’d say they’d be great craic. Jane would love those lads. I’d say you’d get great gossip out of them all and a bit of a laugh. It would be ideal.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

My mother always said never grow up. I kind of get that one. I think she meant never lose the joy and looking forward to things. I have to say that I met a woman in Galway after both of my parents died and she told me that she was in hospital with my mother. She said she was great craic at least she was enjoying herself right up until the end. She was an adult, but I’m not sure if she ever grew up.

If you could watch a movie or TV show or read a book for the first time again what would it be?

The movie Gone with the Wind, it was one of the first movies I saw in a cinema when I was growing up in Galway. I just loved it. I read the book a few years later and I loved it as well.

Pic: Robbie Reynolds

What are you bingeing at the minute?

The Last of Us. But sadly they’re only dropping one episode every week, so I have to wait a week in between them. But if I could binge it I would. The last series I binged was Slow Horses, a series with Gary Oldman and Jack Lowden. Oh my God it was fantastic. I binged it properly. I watched one season one day and the second the next day. I’m looking forward to bingeing myself.

And speaking of TV shows, how was the reaction to your new TV show, Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything?

Oh, it’s great. It’s all out now so people can binge it. Working with Ardal is great, he is one of the nicest people ever. I loved working with him as my husband!

What’s on your bucket list?

I would love to drive to Death Valley, probably with my brother, Ian and his wife, Curly. They do good long drives. They loved, pre-pandemic, to go to Vegas and then they would drive all round. They said Death Valley is fabulous and you’ve seen it in all the Westerns. I want to see the Grand Canyon. It’s actually just travelling.

What’s your favourite place?

I had a lovely job in Sydney, Australia on a kid’s show called Drop Dead Weird. I loved getting on the ferry in Circular Quay and getting the boat out to Manly Beach. I just felt like I could live in Manly. Probably because I know I’ll never live there. In my heart it’s my spiritual home.

Pauline with her father Padraig, who died from stroke in 2005

Tell us why you got involved with the Irish Heart Foundation.

My father died of a stroke 17 years ago and I know that it’s all covered by the Irish Heart Foundation. But then a bit more unexpectedly, some months later, my mother also died from a stroke. It’s not what we expected her to die from, she was 86 and my father had been 69. She was elderly but we honestly expected her to get the cheque from the president. But very unexpectedly she had a stroke. So definitely then I had to get involved. There was no saving my parents, but for other people, if you see the signs and you ring, there is more of the person there to save. We can help people. If you have a stroke 2 million brain cells every minute.

Pauline McLynn is supporting the Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Act F.A.S.T. – Minutes Matter’ campaign to drive greater awareness of facial drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech and the crucial importance of time.

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