Now, if you were to make a list of Ireland’s actors who require a ‘Gift of the Gab’ top-up, James Nesbitt would not be likely to figure. If anything, his characters in the TV series Cold Feet and the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey could do with holding back on the hot air.
Then again, when the Antrim man found himself under the shadow of Cork’s Blarney Castle, he couldn’t really say no.
Stones and scares
In the third slice of Nesbitt’s ITV series James Nesbitt’s Ireland, our hero (well, presenter, but you get the picture) not only kisses the famous Blarney Stone, but gets to grips with some of the most toxic plants on the planet in the charmingly named Poison Garden.
Along with the nefarious American Poison plant (the species is known to cause rashes, burning and blistering), this is the spot in Blarney most strongly associated with witchcraft. From his time working with ogres, Gandalf and dragons on the Hobbit Trilogy, we’re safe in the knowledge that James won’t bat an eyelid. Even though he does don a fleece and protective gloves just to clip the American Poison plant. Showbiz, eh?
The Big Dipper
It’s a long way from working at a fairground to being chosen by an Oscar winning director to star in one of the biggest movie trilogies of your generation, but it’s nice to know James Nesbitt hasn’t forgotten his roots.
In episode three, Nesbitt also makes his way north not only to the land of his childhood, but also the site of his first job. It was here, at the seaside town of Portrush, and more specifically at Barry’s Amusements, where James Nesbitt made his entrance into the working world.
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And his job? Manning the big dipper. Keep an eye out for Colin Quinn who has worked at Barry’s for 60 years. Colin is happy to share a secret or two about James as a lad, but you’ll have to tune in for the scoop.
A song for Ireland
It’s hard to avoid music in Ireland. U2, The Script, Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher – we’re fans of a song. For those of us seeking traditional tunes, the pub session is the Holy Grail. In programme three, James meets up with married couple and professional traditional musicians Zoe Conway and John McIntyre.
Touring with Riverdance, playing for presidents and jamming with Lou Reed, and Nick Cave rate well on their list of career highs. Will playing for the king of charm, James Nesbitt, be their new number one?
To find out, you’ll need to watch episode three on ITV at 8pm no 1 April.
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