Many characters have come in and out of Fair City since it began, and while most people who leave the show stick to acting, one former soap star is opting to become an astronaut.
Niamh Shaw, who appeared as Frances McGuigan in 2007 and 2008 is now training to be an astronaut.
“If I don’t do something about this, it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she told the Irish Independent.
Dr Shaw has two degrees in engineering and a Ph.D in Science but revealed her desire to go into space came from a play she was doing in 2011.
The actress played an astronaut in the theatre production.
“I had a boiler suit, like an astronaut’s flight suit, and lined up a load of science fiction movies, things that made me feel like I was going to space.
“And I started to get really sad. I felt embarrassed and was crying. I’d had a massive realisation: I wasn’t an astronaut, and had done nothing about it. I was all talk, a big fake.”
Dr Shaw even took part in a simulated mission to Mars in Utah funded by Elon Musk and also did one in Israel.
Though the actress and scientist is excited, she expressed that it is not easy to achieve and takes a lot of dedication.
“I live alone, I’ve very few outgoings. Every penny I make goes on the next trip, the next mission. I’ve stripped my life down to its simplest elements.”
“And I know most people can’t do this, they don’t have the luxury of being able to change their life mid-stream. So I do honour that – and realise how lucky I am to be able to pursue this.”