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Maria learns more than a cupla focal for TG4

She hit big time with The Commitments and bagged a key role in Downton Abbey, but it was when Maria Doyle Kennedy returned to study Leaving Cert Irish that TG4 came calling.

The actress and singer grew up in a Gaelgeoir household, but lost some of her flair for the language.

So she decided to return to study honours Irish - which ultimately led to a role on Corp + Anam on TG4.

"I was fluent when I was small, but then only did honours Irish for my Leaving Cert about five years ago," she revealed.

"I'd spent a lot of time in Spain and they are so proud of their culture there and I was a little bit ashamed of myself that I didn't have any Irish.

"So I came back and did it for my Leaving. Dara Mac Con Iomaire, the writer and director, heard about that, I guess, and asked me to do the job."


Maria said she wasn't intimidated by being thrown in at the deep end.

"It was brilliant," she said. "I love the language and the way it sounds and I like the way it expresses things.

"It makes a lot more sense to me than English in the way it expresses things."

Maria (50) shot to fame with 1991 cult film The Commitments, and has an impressive singing and acting career under her belt.

But she said she doesn't plan too far ahead in her industry.

"I don't really ever think of anything more than six months in advance," she told TVNow.

"I have a very busy life and four children and gig as much as I can, so I don't really think about anything much farther than a little bit down the road."