My holidays


Actor and playwright Jody O'Neill

What was your best holiday?The summer I finished college we went to the family farm of a Swedish girl I lived with. We went to Stockholm for a few days, then to the farm. At midsummer it didn’t get dark, so we’d have midnight swims in the lake, barbecues, wander around the woods and pick blueberries, it was idyllic. Another great holiday was to Rhodes, straight after my partner and I finished our first Arts Council applications together. It was a very last-minute package holiday in a really nice little village. We kind of hid there and we didn’t talk about the application for a week.

What was your worst holiday?I went to Croatia with a friend and had a series of disasters. We went camping, with just a tent and no car. We would go to bed every night until 2am, when the skies would open and there would be horrific thunderstorms. While everyone else ran for their cars, we would go to the bathrooms and sit there, watching the fork lightning. One night we heard a creaking and a tree fell across the entrance to our tent. We were flying home from Prague, where we stayed in a friend’s apartment, finally hoping to get some sleep. But we failed to notice all the owners were sandbagging the entrance. So in the middle of the night we heard sirens, and at 5am a bus took us to an evacuation centre as the area was flooded. In the end, we bribed a taxi-driver to bring us to the airport and spent 36 hours there until our flight home.

If budget or work were not a restriction, what would be your dream holiday?I’d like to do a tour of Michelin-star restaurants around Europe, including Arzak in San Sebastian.

If you had your pick, who would you bring on holiday with you?My partner and my baby son. We haven’t gone on holiday together since 2010 as we’re both working in theatre and it’s impossible. So I’d start off with them and meet a friend on the way.

What’s your favourite place in Ireland?West Cork and Kerry in general. I used to go on holiday as a teenager to a Buddhist retreat centre at Garranes, Allihies. We’d rent out a cottage built into the cliff and overlooking a sheer drop into the sea, it was really beautiful.

Your recommended holiday reading?I know I’m on holidays when I get to the airport and go book shopping. I like reading books that draw you into another world, like Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna, or books by John Irving.

Where will you go to next?I’ll go back to Stockholm in July to visit Hanna. We’ve both had babies since last year so it will be a different visit to the ones before.

In conversation with GENEVIEVE CARBERY

Jody O’Neill stars in Rough Magic’s Travesties by Tom Stoppard at the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire until June 23rd