Cillian Murphy: Bright kids ‘eaten up’ by Irish schools

Murphy moved family back to Ireland in 2015 to be more ‘aware of their culture’

 Cillian Murphy attends a screening of Free Fire in London on October 16th, 2016. Photograph:  Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Cillian Murphy attends a screening of Free Fire in London on October 16th, 2016. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

 

Actor Cillian Murphy has spoken of his worries for his children in the Irish education system.

The 40-year-old Cork actor lived in London for 14 years but moved to Dublin with his family in 2015: his wife, the artist Yvonne McGuinness, and their children Malachy and Aran, now 11 and nine.

In an interview with The Observer, Murphy expresses his own frustrations with the Irish education system: “You get these really bright and creative kids who get eaten up by that system,” he says.

Nevertheless, “if they come out from education with some degree of self-confidence and self-awareness, that’s enough,” he says. “And, hopefully, they will make some good friends.”

Murphy’s parents worked in education in Ireland, his mother as a French teacher, his father as a civil servant. He and McGuinness have moved back partly so that their children are better acquainted with Ireland: “You want to be with your parents as they get older and you want your children to be aware of their culture,” he says of the move.

He notes that it is a common Irish experience “to move away in your 20s to England or America to establish yourself and find your calling, and then come home. I always thought that it was retrogressive, but now I realise that it is just natural.

“Initially, I was the reluctant one when it came to moving back, but I was quite quickly convinced. Irish people are brilliant and you have to go away and come back to realise it.”