George Clooney's father to star in TV show on Irish ancestors
The Queen, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama have all visited the Republic of Ireland recently. Now it's Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney's turn to get the Irish feelgood factor going.
Mr Clooney's father, Nicholas, has promised to star in a new documentary exploring his son's Irish roots.
Kilkenny filmmaker and historian Gabriel Murray told the Irish Independent that he will travel to Kentucky in the US next month to interview Mr Clooney's father in the house where the star was reared.
"Nicholas has agreed to be in the documentary. He is a very positive man," said Mr Murray.
Mr Murray has been trawling through parish records for the past two months in a bid to firm up Mr Clooney's Irish roots. He is working round the clock to finish the documentary in time for April when it is hoped the Hollywood actor will take a motorcycle holiday around the country.
Mr Murray recently discovered a baptismal cert to prove that Mr Clooney's great-great-grandfather, Nicholas, was born in the village of Tullahought, 25 miles south of Kilkenny city.
"George's father actually came to Kilkenny in 2008 because his sister, Hollywood actress Rosemary, had visited before. They were aware of their roots and he came to search for records.
"He went to Windgap church but he couldn't find his great-grandfather's baptismal cert. I decided to look back for it since George Clooney is coming to visit this year," said Mr Murray.
Mr Murray said there is a "doubting Thomas mentality" among the Irish but he discovered that Mr Clooney's great-great-grandfather, Nicholas, had been evicted from Ireland because he was only worth £2 and two shillings.
"He was forced to leave in 1847 and he went on to the States."
Today there are still Clooneys related to George's great-great grandfather living in Kilkenny, Laois and Clonmel.
"We will be revealing how closely related they are in the documentary but we can't say too much before the film comes out," he said.
Limerick band The Corrigan Brothers, who penned the hit 'There's No One as Irish as Barack Obama', have also jumped on the bandwagon.
They released a song at the weekend dedicated to the Hollywood actor's looming visit to Ireland called 'Welcome Home George Clooney'.
"Oh the girls are feeling swooney; As they welcome home George Clooney; back to Ireland and Kilkenny on his great big motorbike," the chorus goes.
The song also talks of how Mr Clooney knows Angelina Jolie but his real hero is Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody.
The track will feature in the documentary which will be narrated by RTE star Mike Murphy, according to Mr Murray.
Meanwhile, a George and Rosemary Clooney look-a-like competition is being held in Kilkenny next Friday.
"The entire party will be filmed for the documentary," added Mr Murray.