Matt Damon is well on his way to being Ireland’s favourite celebrity visitor as he wins hearts and minds with his quiet, modest charm. The Hollywood star has been living in Ireland for the last three months.
He’d been filming his latest film, The Last Dual, directed by Ridley Scoot, when the Covid-19 crisis began. He decided to stay in Ireland for the lockdown rather than return to the United States. He’s been living with his family at Dalkey, a beautiful and exclusive area near Dublin, which is home to several celebrities including Bono and Enya.
Damon has tried to keep a low profile but has also found time to interact with local people and has won a lot of respect. His latest venture was to record a video congratulating the children at the local high school, Loreto Abbey, on their graduation day.
He said: “Hey this is Matt Damon. I just want to say congratulations to the Loreto Abbey graduating class of 2020.
“You guys are awesome and I am sorry you have to do this from quarantine. Congratulations, what an achievement. Good for you guys. Thinking about you.” The video was shared on Twitter by RTE journalist Flor MacCarthy.
BREAKING: (hearts?!) Special message just now from the lovely lad next door, for the 6th yr girls, Loreto Abbey Dalkey. Cool surprise org by their amazing teachers on what would have been their final day in school. Fair play #MattDamon #LeavingCert pic.twitter.com/4PQttJyNQb
— Flor Mac Carthy (@florNEWS) May 15, 2020
The video got great support from Irish people charmed by the gesture.
“Give him an honorary passport,” said David Houlihan.
Aisling Purcell tweeted: “My niece is in that class! Made her graduation really special. Thanks to the teachers for organising and Matt Damon for being a really sound human being!”
Dr Jennifer Kavanagh wrote: “I’m actually not sure if Matt will ever go home. He seems to be more native than the natives themselves at this stage.”
The video is the latest of a growing list of stories of Damon’s interaction with local people, as he blends into local life in Dalkey. He also won some new fans with his praise for Ireland, Irish life and the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, when he appeared on ‘Spin 103.8’s Fully Charged’ breakfast radio show.
He said: “This is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. I’m with my whole family, I’ve got my kids, and we have teachers with us because we were planning on missing school for about 8 weeks.
“It’s insane. I thought it was incredible two months ago but now it’s starting blooming and it’s just incredible. It feels like a fairytale. When I first came in, people were saying well, ‘Bono lives over there, Enya lives over there’.
Damon was full of praise for the way Ireland has handled the coronavirus outbreak, especially Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who’s is a qualified doctor and he decided to work one day a week at a hospital during the crisis. Damon said: “You’ve got a president who just goes to the hospital and starts working, I mean what a badass, it’s just on another level.”
Damon will return to the United States once the lockdown is over but will then come back to Ireland once filming resumes on the Last Dual.