Clondalkin actor plays1916 hero

By Mary Dennehy

CLONDALKIN actor Phillip Galvin will play Father Columbus Murphy in a re-enactment of the Capuchin priest’s remarkable actions during Easter week 1916, when he went out onto the streets of Dublin and cared to the wounded and dying.

In a RTE production called 16 Letters, the story of Fr Murphy will be one of a number of stories told through letters left, correspondence from ordinary people, private collections and national archives to provide a “new and personal perspective” on 1916.

Born, bred and still living in Clondalkin, Philip Galvin will play Fr Murphy in the re-enactment, the latest role for the determined actor who has appeared in TV shows such as Love/Hate, Mario Rosenstock, Red Rock, Fair City and Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie.

Arriving onto the acting scene only three years ago, Philip has in that time built-up his CV and experience and is hoping that being part of the production 16 Letters will introduce him to a larger audience.

Despite a busy schedule, Philip took five to speak with his local paper.

LIFE Philip Galvin head shot resized 

You only started acting in 2013, why and how did it happen?

At the time I was working in LIVE Community Radio Broadcasting presenting a show for over five years and was just getting ready to leave that job when I got offered a part in Love / Hate Season 4 - Episode 3 as one of Nidge's bodyguards. This was the first on screen job I had done and it gave me a feel for what it's like on set and I took a liking to it. 

Is it difficult to break into acting as an adult?

It wasn’t for me because I've always had an interest in the performing arts and generally speaking when I want something in life I go for it. If you want something and you’re prepared to work for it there's no reason why you can't have it.

What was your first job like? Was it daunting?

It was Love / Hate and I remember getting a phone call at 10:30pm at night and they asked me if I could be there at 6:30am a day or two later, it was all new to me but it wasn't too daunting for me because when you present a radio show live for five years that broadcasts across west Dublin the nerves kind of leave you, or at least that's how it was for me anyway.

Any advice for people trying to break onto stage or the screen?

Make sure it's something you have a passion for and be prepared to work at all hours. Be mindful that stage acting and screen acting are not the same thing, stage acting is performing in front of a live audience which is a different ball game. Acting in front of camera is something that I would prefer but I suppose that's down to one’s own personal preference.

What has been your favourite job to date?

Probably this latest one 16 Letters because the Producer Paula Williams and Director Rachael Moriarty and all the crew were super nice people to work with, they looked after me very well in every aspect of the job.

LIFE Philip Galvin resized

Your latest role is that of Fr Columbus Murphy in the RTE Production 16 Letters which will be aired on Easter Sunday night, March 27. What was it like getting into the character of a real person?

It was a bit weird on this one because of the history behind it, your re-enacting a historical event and you’re trying to become that person for it and you’re dealing with remembering lines, taking directions and doing a number of takes from different angles and so forth but overall it was a privilege to take on the role of Fr Columbus Murphy because he left a remarkable testimony for history as he went out onto the streets and administered to the wounded and dying during Easter Week.

Why should people tune in? 

They should tune in if they have an interest in Irish History and want to see the re-enactment.

If you could act alongside any actor, even the really really famous ones, who would it be and why?

Well in an ideal world I would have liked to work with the late John Candy who in my view was one of the greats, he had a really funny sense of humour and was an all-round decent sort of fella which is always a good quality to have. Some actors can be stuck up, and snobbery is something that I'm not a fan of at all.

Catch Philip in 16 Letters on RTE One this Easter Sunday. As part of the production RTE will stage a 75-minute television event from the GP on O’Connell Street.

The invited audience will include the descendants of the letter writers of 1916, which will add a personal and emotional perspective to the stories that will play out on a big screen – and into homes across the nation.

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