Star Saoirse Ronan beats path from the Oscars to Derry's Walls
Hollywood actress Saoirse Ronan came off the Oscars red carpet and straight onto Londonderry's historic walls this weekend.
Fresh from being nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Ladybird, Saoirse was in Londonderry with a male friend, seeing the sights and taking a tour of the city with the renowned, celebrity favourite Martin McCrossan Tours.
Tour guide Charlene Blackburn (30) says the Hollywood A-lister and three-time Oscar nominee was 'funny, polite and down to earth' as she took in the sights. "Saoirse had booked for a private tour of Derry's Walls," she said.
"We didn't know it was her as she didn't give her full name. We just knew that there was a private booking for two people but we didn't know it was a Hollywood star until she showed up.
"She loved the tour and I met her afterwards. She was with a male friend, I think it was her boyfriend.
"He was from Scotland and she said she was showing him around. And she said that afterwards she was going to Sandinos Bar to watch the rugby. She said she had been in Derry a few times before and she wanted to show her friend how great it was. And obviously to illustrate how great it was she took him on one of our tours, which was brilliant.
"I had just watched Brooklyn on a flight to America.
"I had told her I saw it and loved it and how my two kids were making so much noise on the flight and I was asking them to be quiet as I was so engrossed in the film. She was laughing at that. She was such a nice person, so down to earth.
"She was absolutely lovely, so grounded and so polite. She posed for photographs no problem, she was so nice. You wouldn't have known she was a Hollywood superstar. She had a big coat and hat on and just looked like a tourist.
"We have had several Hollywood stars on our tours over the years.
"My father, I remember, took Will Ferrell around on a tour. It doesn't faze us.
"I haven't met as many and I thought meeting someone like Saoirse, I might be nervous, but I wasn't.
"She was just so lovely. We chatted and laughed away. It was lovely to see her."