American actor and director Mel Gibson is also an Irish citizen and has even been given the freedom of the town of Trim in Co Meath.
Many may associate the star with Scotland after his performance as William Wallace in one of his most famous movies, Braveheart.
However, Gibson actually qualifies for Irish citizenship thanks to his mother Anne Patricia Reilly, who came from Co Longford.
Anne moved to the US and married Hutton Gibson in 1944. They had 11 children – one of which was named after Saint Mel of Ardagh, a nephew of St Patrick and a saint associated with Anne’s home town.
Mel’s middle name ‘Colmcille’ is also the name of Anne’s local parish on Co Longford.
Mel Gibson would of course grow up to become one of America’s most famous and controversial movie stars of all time.
He decided to hold both Irish and US citizenship. While he was born in New York and raised in Australia, he was automatically entitled to Irish citizenship due to his mother being born in Ireland.
Indeed, even people with just one Irish grandparent are entitled to Irish citizenship. Gibson now holds both US and Irish passports.
Gibson’s 1995 movie Braveheart saw him play Scottish warrior William Wallace as he led his men in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.
While the movie was set in Scotland, much of it was filmed in Ireland – Co Wicklow and Co Meath to be precise, with Trim Castle a key feature.
Gibson said of his time filming Braveheart in Trim: “I have great memories of the time here and all the men and women who worked with me and helped me achieve my vision.”
He was awarded the freedom of Trim in 2010.
Gibson also filmed upcoming movie ‘The Professor and the Madman’ in Ireland.
He told reporters: “I always love being back in Ireland. It feels like home. When this project came along I didn’t hesitate for a second.”
Have you thought about applying for dual Irish citizenship? Click here to see if you qualify.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling
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