‘This is where it all started’: Conan O’Brien visits ancestral home in Limerick

Comedian has been touring Ireland this week and went to the village of Galbally, where his great grandfather emigrated from in the 1870s

US comedian Conan O’Brien has told of his delight after visiting his ancestral home in Co Limerick.

Mr O’Brien, who became one of the most recognisable faces on US television after starting out as a writer for NBC sketch series Saturday Night Live in the 1980s and The Simpsons in the 1990s, has been touring Ireland in recent days.

The former host of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien traced his roots back to the village of Galbally in southeast Limerick which was the native home of his great grandfather Daniel O’Brien, who married Margaret Dempsey from nearby Emly, Co Tipperary.

During a visit to Galbally this week, the 60-year old from Brookline, Massachusetts, said he had run into local historian Jim Fitzgerald, who runs the Galbally Community Facebook Page.


In a video posted on the village’s Facebook page, the comedian said: “Hello, Conan O’Brien here from America. I work in television there and I do comedy, but I hail from Galbally, I come from here, and I’ve run into my good friend here, Jim Fitzgerald. Jim Fitzgerald is telling me all about the O’Briens and Galbally.”

He added: “My great grandfather, left Galbally, I think in the 1870s, and we’re gonna go see where his house used to be ... But this is where it all started. And now I’m back. This is very nice.”

Mr Fitzgerald told Mr O’Brien that “this is where it all started”.

He added: “The village is here since, I suppose, the 1400s.”

What a privilege to have Conan O'Brien drop in this evening to perform Danny Boy with the Irish Tenors. Unbelievable stuff. #conanobrien 📸 @conchobar.m.l.cinneide

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Embracing Mr Fitzgerald, Mr O’Brien joked: “That’s amazing, to come back to this town, to meet Jim, and the only awkward thing is his hand is resting firmly on my ass, right now.”

Mr Fitzgerald said Mr O’Brien was a “good comedian” and he was thrilled to have encountered him in the village.

“What a day, I met one of America’s most famous TV presenters in Galbally village. Galbally had a very famous visitor today,” he said. “We had a good chat which will be broadcast in the USA later this year, a very interesting day.”

O’Brien later posted a photograph on X, formerly Twitter, of himself holding a printout of his family tree.

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