Tallaght family meets up with I’m a Celebrity host Ant

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A TALLAGHT family who moved Down Under ten years ago have spoken about their delight at running into Ant McPartlin, from the famous TV duo Ant and Dec, every year when he’s in their area while filming the ITV reality TV series ‘I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!’

Anthony and Nicky Kearney met in IT Tallaght in the early 90s when they were both training to be chefs, and Nicky, whose maiden name is Bernie, has strong family links to Bancroft through generations, as her grandfather, Eugene, set up the first Tallaght tyres shop in the village, and she was raised in the area.

Kearneys Ant 2 compressor

The Kearney family meeting Ant out shopping

Anthony and Nicky set up a home in Bancroft with their four children, Katie (19), Ryan (16), Jessica (12) and Adam (11), with Katie and Ryan having attended Scoil Santain before emigrating.

The couple made the decision to move to Australia after Anthony lost his job at A&L Goodbody, where he had worked for 11 years, as the recession began to decimate the economy.

The family settled in a town called Tweed Heads on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, and five years ago they started spotting a familiar face around town – TV star Ant McPartlin.

Ant stays in a neighbouring town every year during the filming of ‘I’m a Celebrity…’, as it’s near the jungle where the celebrities have to face a variety of terrifying challenges and feats, but as Ant isn’t well-known in Australia, he goes around the town largely unnoticed.

“We religiously watched ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ every year in our house before we left home,” explained Anthony, “and we like to keep up to date with everything back home.

“Just south of us is a small seaside town called Casarina, and we started bumping into Ant there about five years ago. The main street, where he has an apartment, is very short.

“He walks around in the afternoons, and usually pops over to a supermarket or you might catch him having food in one of the local eateries.

“He always seems very relaxed and is ready to stop for a chat. He always has time for the kids and is very interested in how we have been getting on away from Ireland.

“He’s just a normal guy and nobody has a clue that back home he is a massive celeb.

“He looks fantastic and seems in great form. Not in a million years would you think that this bloke around town is beamed into millions of homes back home, and has a net worth of £68m.

“It gives us fond memories of home when we chat with him, and share the photos with family and friends that watch the show.”

Since moving to Australia, Anthony and Nicky have had another child, Emily, who’s now four, and the family are determined to continue to instil an appreciation of Irish traditions and culture in their children.

“We have settled well over the past decade,” said Anthony. “We became Australian citizens only three weeks ago.

“We are very proud of our Irish heritage here in Australia, and we’re patriotic.

“We are strong advocates of Irish culture, and we promote to everyone that’s willing to listen, how great a little country Ireland is. Nicky, Katie and Jessica kept up the Irish dancing over here in Oz.”

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