Cork actress who plays Sister Michael in Derry Girls tours North for new TV series

Aherla born actress Siobhán McSweeney takes to an electric bike to tour rural Northern Ireland in a new TV series
Cork actress who plays Sister Michael in Derry Girls tours North for new TV series

ON HER TRAVELS: Siobhán McSweeney in her upcoming More4 series Exploring Northern Ireland

CORK actress Siobhán McSweeney had never set foot in Northern Ireland before filming the hit comedy show Derry Girls.

Now she can’t keep away from the place.

The 41-year-old from Aherla, who is now based in London, is climbing aboard an electric bike to tour its rural landscape in a new four-part series.

Called Exploring Northern Ireland With Siobhan McSweeney, the series, which starts on More4 on Thursday at 9pm, sees her tour the lakes, mountains, coastline and forests.

The actress, who plays Sister Michael in popular Channel 4 series Derry Girls, delivers her own “affectionate and mischievous take on the province” during her travels.

She begins in County Down, as Siobhan follows in the footsteps of pilgrims along Saint Patrick’s Way, coming face to face with some vicious Vikings, getting a bird’s eye view of stunning Strangford Lough, and revealing her artistic side with artist Colin Davidson.

She also samples regency life in an 18th-century mansion and, in Belfast, the actress conquers her fear of heights at one of the city’s iconic landmarks.

Siobhán, who also presents The Great Pottery Throw Down on Channel 4, says of the new series: “When the idea was first mooted, I think I was a little bit surprised — very surprised — that anybody would want me to do it. And especially because they wanted an outdoors feel to it. And I’m like, ‘Well, you’ll need somebody who likes the outdoors’. 

"I mean, I love rambling, I love walking, hiking. But when I thought about it, I was delighted to leave the flat.

“I was very excited to show Northern Ireland in a way that I feel isn’t being shown at all, and I was very excited about exploring the place. And going back there, I feel like I’m at home. 

"We have four episodes and they each deal with a geographic area. Those areas would have very distinct feels, distinctive landscapes, and even the activities we’d get up to would be quite different in each area. And you got a different vibe from the place. And that surprised me, that surprised me a lot. I loved how different every place was.

“What didn’t surprise me was the vast and warm and generous welcome we got everywhere we went.

“And genuinely, not in a trying to hawk their business or smile for the camera way, but I think people really understood the intention behind the show.

“There is a great pride in Northern Ireland for their home place. It’s a very interesting place and especially in Britain, we only see one aspect of it.

“Overall, presenting is great fun and I love it. But it’s a side hustle. It’s something that I feel I’m getting away with.”

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