Hollywood star John C. Reilly has spoken about his first ever visit to Ireland, which happened in 2008 with comedy star Will Ferrell as his travel buddy.
Reilly is from Chicago and has always been deeply proud of his Irish heritage.
The ‘We Need To talk About Kevin’ star even became an Irish citizen in 2018, despite technically being ‘one grandparent away’.
Reilly was guest of honour at Dublin’s 2022 St Patrick’s Day Parade, the first for three years following cancelations in 2020 and 2021 due to covid restrictions.
During his visit he appeared on the Late Late Show and spoke fondly about Ireland and reminisced about the first time he visited.
Reilly and Ferrell were promoting their 2008 hit comedy Step Brothers, when their promotional tour rolled into Ireland.
Reilly said: “The first time I came here it was on a chartered plane with Will for some press event and it was a very meaningful moment.
“You probably think I’m being corny, but I came down the stairs from the plane and I kissed the ground because I felt like the Pope coming over. I wanted to show what it meant to me.
“Will said, `what are you doing? It’s filthy! It’s tarmac.’ I said I don’t care, it’s Ireland.”
The Gangs of New York star also credited his father for igniting his love for their ancestral homeland.
He said: “You can’t top my dad for Irish love. He was the fountainhead. He told us all about the history of Ireland the struggles and all of it.
“Each year he’d take one of us over to visit and I didn’t get my turn with him.”
Reilly also spoke about his role as Guest of Honour at the St Patrick’s Day Parade and how it was even better than he expected.
He said: “I really embraced the part. I got out there and I thought; `parade, you’ll hear some music and see some floats’, but we started moving through the crowd and I began connecting with all these kids lining the path and they were much closer than I thought they’d be.
“I thought, `I’m making dreams come true! I like your hat!’ it was really a beautiful thing and what a great time to bring some joy into the world.
“We’ve all suffered so much over the past two years and there are a lot of people suffering now but joy is an important part of human strength. I thought it was important to come here and help bring people together.”