FORMER ER actress Maura Tierney will be hitting the road later this year to explore what Ireland's countryside has to offer.
The American star played the character of Abby Lockhart for more than eight years on the hit show before leaving in 2008 and is now planning to make the most of her free time by exploring her Irish roots.
Maura (45) is due to remain on Irish shores until the middle of March in order to take on a role in acclaimed production God of Carnage at the Gate Theatre, but admits she is already contemplating extending her visit so she can do some travelling.
"I obviously want to do a good job on the play so that's my main priority, I'd like to see the countryside a little though and maybe travel the country a bit," Maura told the Herald.
"My relatives are scattered a bit so I don't know where I'll go, but yes I want to try and do a bit of sightseeing and get to know the city of Dublin a bit better, too.
"I'm in Dublin until the end of March. I probably will stay on for a while after the play. I've no plans for any more work but I might just hang out and have a bit of fun."
Maura went on to explain how her latest acting project differs enormously from previous roles which have not been as dark and says she can't wait to get her teeth stuck into it next month.
"It's about these two couples whose children have fallen out and they get together to try and resolve it in a calm manner," she explained.
"They don't succeed very well, it just brings out the worst in everyone.
"It is different for me because the character is more subdued, certainly in the beginning anyway, than I am or could be. It's a more complicated character than my ER role."
Maura stepped out to Tripod on Harcourt Street last night to officially launch this year's Jameson Film Festival alongside talented Irish actress Charlene McKenna, star of hit RTE drama RAW.
Among the big names due to attend this year's festival next month are Kevin Spacey, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Ken Loach and Aidan Gillen.
Guests at last night's launch event included Anna Daly, Lisa Cannon, Aisling O'Loughlin and Mr World Kamal Ibrahim.
Also in attendance were top model Alison Canavan, who stepped out for a night on the tiles with her American pal AJ Celi, star of E! Entertainment's Married To Rock.