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25th Oct 2018

Barry Keoghan’s story of growing up in foster care is harrowing, but the strength he took from it is inspirational


Barry Keoghan

Barry Keoghan has told his story before, but not like this.

On the opening episode of Ireland Unfiltered, Keoghan told Dion Fanning about the harrowing moment he first went into foster care and the bond he has with his brother, Eric.

Keoghan is one of Hollywood’s hottest talents but his upbringing in Dublin wasn’t glamorous, even if it has provided him with an exceptional outlook on life.

“I remember it, it wasn’t nice. It’s not ever nice, kids being taken from their parents. We were brought…there was an office in Mountjoy Square and you’d go and wait there. I remember a little toy section down the back and a little play area.”

Keoghan says he never had a bad experience with the social workers or the families who took him in, but it’s a “bad experience in itself”.

There were 13 foster homes between when he was 5 and 12 and he says they merge in his mind.

“It becomes one memory, it becomes a montage in your mind. I remember this pink panther teddy.”

Keoghan’s mother, who was a heroin addict, wasn’t able to care for Barry and his brother Eric, but each Saturday she would see her boys.

“We’d see her. We’d see her every Saturday and stuff. She’d bring us to McDonald’s and the cinema and stuff like that. Now it’s painful thinking about it. As a kid, you’re there, ‘There’s my mammy’, but you’re also being sheltered by this family so you’re not really, it’s a weird one.”

When Keoghan was 12, his mother died. “My nanny and my aunty told us. It wasn’t a nice day, it was the worst day of my life. I was about 12 but there was something in me that I just took it and it made me stronger.”

It’s a harrowing story but an inspirational one.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Or watch here.

Ireland Unfiltered, brought to you in partnership with Carlsberg Unfiltered, will be available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Tuesday.

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