Cork actor starts her farewell as deadpan nun in Derry Girls

Cork actress Siobhan McSweeney stars in Derry Girls which is back for a third and final series
Cork actor starts her farewell as deadpan nun in Derry Girls

WINNING HABIT: Sister Michael, played by Cork actress Siobhan McSweeney, in Derry Girls

BIDDING farewell to two great TV characters created by Cork actors in the space of just over a week will be tough - but at least we can say it was a pleasure to know them!

Last week, Cillian Murphy’s reign as a gangland boss in Peaky Blinders ended, and next week, Siobhan McSweeney’s wonderful deadpan nun Sister Michelle starts her farewell as the third and last series of hit comedy Derry Girls begins.

The first episode on Channel 4 on Tuesday at 9.15pm will see the return of all Lisa McGee’s adored characters for a final fling - McSweeney, including break-out star Nicola Coughlan and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell.

McGee was inspired by her own adolescence during The Troubles in the 1990s, and as we catch up with the gang again, it seems that peace in Northern Ireland is just around the corner.

What that means for the youngsters is anybody’s guess - they should be growing up, but it seems they’ve all got a long way to go on that score.

It’s been six years since Coughlan stepped on to the set of Derry Girls; a journey the actress describes as nothing short of “mad”. With the gates of Our Lady Immaculate College poised to close on their characters for the final time (or at least on television, given creator Lisa McGee’s big screen ambitions), Coughlan and co-star O’Donnell have already begun lamenting the loss of their on-screen companions.

“It’s a weird thing, grief, saying goodbye to a character,” reflects Coughlan, 35. “It’s a really strange thing that’s very hard to explain to people. I mean, Clare Devlin is a mess, but I love her and I will miss her very much,” she adds, referencing her academically ambitious character.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully say goodbye in my head,” agrees co-star O’Donnell, 30, who plays outspoken Michelle Mallon in the series. Set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland’s political conflict, Derry Girls is the coming-of-age tale audiences never knew they needed. Depicting the heart-warming escapades of four girlfriends and a “wee English fella” as they navigate the awkwardness of adolescence, the first nostalgia-packed series had viewers pining for the ’90s. Now the series is ready to tie up the remaining loose ends as the teens anxiously await their GCSE results.

“We always knew it was going to end at the time of the Good Friday Agreement” says Coughlan.

She received the final scripts mid-way through shooting the “big, heavy stuff” for Bridgerton’s series two finale, and was “really stressed” at the thought of potential filming clashes.

“I was like, ‘I can’t even look at these because my head’s gonna explode!” adds Coughlan.

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