Ardal O'Hanlon

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Ardal O'Hanlon (born 8 October 1965) is an Irish comedian and actor, best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.



Early life

O'Hanlon was born in 1965 in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, Ireland, the son of Rory O'Hanlon, an Irish politician and doctor, and has five siblings. RTÉ's Who do you think you are? programme on Monday 6 October 2008 examined Ardal's family tree. He discovered that his paternal grandfather, Michael O'Hanlon, a UCD medicine student, had joined the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and was a member of Michael Collins's squad which assassinated British secret service agents on the morning of Bloody Sunday. Details of his grandfather's activities survive in UCD Archives, as well as Blackrock College. It also transpired that on his mother's side he was a close relative of Peter Fenelon Collier, the founder of Collier's Weekly and Collier's Encyclopedia.

O'Hanlon was schooled in Blackrock College in Dublin and graduated, in 1987, from the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin (now Dublin City University) with a degree in Communications Studies.


As Dublin had no real stand-up comedy scene, together with Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy, Ardal O'Hanlon founded the International Comedy Cellar, upstairs in the International Bar on Dublin's South Wicklow Street. O'Hanlon first found fame as a stand-up comedian, winning the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1994. For a period he was the presenter of The Stand Up Show.

He was spotted by Graham Linehan, who was to cast him as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted, which ran between 1995 and 1998. In 1995, he appeared (as Father Dougal) in a Channel 4 ident ("Hello, you're watching.... television"), and during Comic Relief on BBC1. This was followed by the more serious Big Bad World and the award winning short comedy film Flying Saucer Rock'n'Roll.

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