Clooney plans second Irish visit next year after clan meet-up
Hollywood A-lister George Clooney plans to return to Ireland next year following a brief visit to meet his cousins over the Easter break.
The family get-together was organised by his parents, renowned broadcaster Nicholas (85) and his writer wife Nina (80), who touched down from the US last week.
His human rights lawyer wife Amal and two-year-old twins Alexander and Ella joined Clooney at the family reunion, held at the five-star award-winning luxury hotel Ballyfin Demesne in Co Laois. The visit was the actor's first to the country.
"They are talking about coming back again next year, but qualified that by saying that he could be back before then as he does a lot of things on impulse," said distant cousin Andy Ring, who met the 57-year-old actor.
"I never met a more entertaining man - he truly regaled us all for hours. Conversations just flowed among us.
"He and Amal were totally down to earth with us all. Even though we have known of each other for a long time - he really honestly is the nicest person I ever met. There were around 15 of us there to meet them at the hotel and the jokes and banter was wonderful.
"He really listened intently to the conversation. He wanted us all to take photos together for the memory books. It was a great surprise to us when we were told that George, Amal and the kids were coming along to meet us."
The family flew out of Ireland on Sunday morning, but not before also meeting U2 frontman Bono and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
In 2005, an American genealogist discovered George Clooney's Irish roots in Windgap, Co Kilkenny and Abbeyleix, Co Laois, resulting in his parents visiting 12 years ago.
The Clooneys have Irish heritage on both sides of the family, most significantly on the paternal side.
His father's great-great- grandfather Nicholas Clooney emigrated to the US from Co Kilkenny during the Famine.
George's relative, Sarah Clooney, who was born in Abbeyleix and died a few years ago, worked in a factory in the town which made carpets for the Titanic.