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 Shane Casey with Amelia O’Driscoll on the buses. The former Sunbeam worker regaled the ‘Young Offenders’ star about her time making ‘Long Johns’ and underwear. Picture: Dan Linehan
Shane Casey with Amelia O’Driscoll on the buses. The former Sunbeam worker regaled the ‘Young Offenders’ star about her time making ‘Long Johns’ and underwear. Picture: Dan Linehan
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On The Buses video special: Shane Casey tours his home city

BUS passengers in Cork might have been forgiven for thinking they had stepped into a scene from the Young Offenders this week.

Shane Casey, known for playing criminal Billy Murphy on the hit BBC show, made himself available for a “meet and greet” with a few well-known faces who have featured in The Echo’s ‘On The Buses’ column.

It was that final — now iconic-bus hijacking episode that catapulted Shane’s fame to stratospheric levels. And if the endless references were anything to go by, Billy Murphy’s famous scene — which features a singalong to The Frank and Walters’ ‘After All’ — is sure to go down in television history.

Shane Casey as Billy Murphy in the Young Offenders in the now famous bus-hijacking episode. Pic: : Miki Barlok
Shane Casey as Billy Murphy in the Young Offenders in the now famous bus-hijacking episode. Pic: : Miki Barlok
Amelia O’Driscoll from The Glen, along with Miriam Slattery (Mahon) and her son Adam, were among those discussing Shane’s career on the “Hop on, Hop off” bus linking Cork city to some of Shane’s favourite places.

One of these included Cork Opera House where Shane will be performing in his self-penned play Wet Paint tonight. The production is inspired by his days as a painter and depicts a day-in-the-life of two painter/decorators and their boss during the Celtic Tiger era, when anything was possible, at least inside your head!”

Watching the world go by from Cork’s famous open-top bus elicited fond memories for Shane.

“Would you believe I used to stand here on Sunday’s Well every morning waiting to go to work as a painter,” he said. “Singer Mick Flannery, who was a stone mason at the time, would be standing directly across the road waiting for his own lift to work. I’d always shout over “how’s the singing going Mick?” and he would in-turn ask me about my acting.”

Little did Shane then realise they would both go on to achieve phenomenal success. Nonetheless, even before he was famous Shane enjoyed a colourful life.

“Do you see that house over there,” he gestured to Amelia O’Driscoll.

 Shane Casey with Amelia O’Driscoll, Miriam and Adam Slattery on the buses. Miriam said Shane often brings a tear to her eyes. Picture: Dan Linehan

Shane Casey with Amelia O’Driscoll, Miriam and Adam Slattery on the buses. Miriam said Shane often brings a tear to her eyes. Picture: Dan Linehan

“I used to rent it with another actor. We had mad parties there, all with different themes. At Halloween, we rented a smoke machine and decorated the garden with headstones. I can remember one particular party where we had an ‘under the sea’ theme. One girl dressed as a boot.” He remembered how people were dressed as fish and guests playing Spin the Bottle. “They were great days,” he laughed.

Cork City Gaol also brought back memories for Shane.

“I played Richard Behal in a re-enactment of a documentary. He was a former IRA inmate who escaped from prison in Limerick 50 years ago. I had to be taken up by crane to stand at the top of the building. I spent those few days covering myself in butter and squeezing through windows.”

It was a far cry from Shane’s Young Offenders scene which he went on to describe in detail.

“Imagine we were on a bus just like this, but for a whole week. The first thing they did was get rid of the tougher looking extras so it was actually believable that someone like me could hijack a bus. The crew were upstairs while we were downstairs. We were filming in the Watergrasshill area so everyone else headed go-karting during breaks. To be honest I was so nervous I’d forget the words of the songs that I opted to stay and learn them off.”

The character proved a huge hit with the public.

“Parents often contact me asking if I will send their kids a message from ‘Billy Murphy’,” he laughed. “I’ll usually send something funny along the lines of ‘Clean your room or I’ll be down to the house to sort you out!’.”

He emphasised, however, that fame comes with a cost.

“99 times out of 100 I will oblige with a photograph or autograph but it’s the one time that you don’t that people remember. The only times I’ve had to say no is when it’s not the appropriate time. I might be with someone who has just had bad news and burst into tears next to me, and in these situations, I have to explain that it’s not a good time.”

The Cork man proved that even celebrities get starstruck. “I was actually at a Rolling Stones concert once when I fell on top of a guy. When I looked up I realised it was Finbar Furey. I said ‘Finbar, ya legend’.”

Shane was interested in hearing about the lives of his fellow passengers too, including Amelia O’Driscoll.

“I used to work in the Sunbeam making Long Johns and underwear,” Amelia laughed as she regaled Shane with her life story.

The pair also talked about the best day of her life — her wedding to husband Denis.

“Our wedding cake cost €20 for the ingredients and €20 to make,” she told him.

Adam and his mum Miriam Slattery were equally chuffed to meet Shane.

“Mum was thrilled. She’s big into the Young Offenders. She’s singing the song all the time,” Adam said of the Frank and Walters song ‘After All’ which featured in the scene.

Miriam confessed she has, on more than one occasion, shed a tear during Shane’s Young Offenders scenes.

“I get very sentimental about you,” she laughed.

Wet Paint runs from March 20 to March 23. To book tickets or find out more about matinee performances visit 

www.corkoperahouse.ie/en-GB/shows/wet%20paint/info