We put some of your questions to Aoibhin Garrihy.
When you first got the part of Neasa, did you know that the character was part of the new Dillon clan? And if not, when did you find out?
Yes, I knew from the word go. Catherine Byrne, who plays my mum in the show, was at the first audition reading. When I was called back to audition again, I was auditioning with another eight or nine girls. We were told by the Executive Producer that the idea behind the group audition was to match the sisters together for the new family. When I was put with Aoibheann and Kerrie, who play Caoimhe and Dearbhla, in an improvisation, something just seemed to click and I hoped that would be the opinion of the producer too. Turned out it was, and we were all cast back in April. We had to keep it secret then for months!
The Dillons have got off to a good start. Do you think there will be big stories for the family in the weeks and months ahead, and is there any particular story line you would like to see Neasa involved in?
Well I don't know if you could say the Dillons have got off to a good start, but they have certainly been causing trouble over the past few weeks. There has been a great reaction to the arrival of the new family and we're certainly delighted to be in Carrigstown. We film every episode five weeks in advance of it airing and so I know what's coming up five weeks ahead. There is plenty more drama on the cards both for Neasa and for the rest of the family, but we only get our scripts a week in advance and so I don't know what's on the cards down the line. Neasa is such a fun character to play that, no matter what she gets up to, I'll enjoy it, I reckon.
Did you watch Fair City before you got the role on the show?
Fair City celebrated its 21st anniversary this month and I'm 23. I guess you could say I grew up with it. Although I never watched it religiously, like my nana does, I was always aware of the big storylines, the characters involved and it was regularly on in the background in our house. I was never really a huge TV person although the entire family, extended family and friends are tuning in every night now!
Who have you enjoyed working with most so far?
It's such a hard question as every member of the cast, crew and staff have been such a joy and a pleasure to work with. It's so unique to work in such a supportive environment. From the very first day, everyone has been so welcoming to me and the rest of the Dillon family. Each actor brings their own experience, style and energy to the scenes that make it so interesting. I found working with Bryan Murray something special. Also the likes of Aisling O' Neill, Maclean Burke and Sarah Flood, who have been there for years, are so professional and fantastic. But so far, I would have to say my favourite scenes to play would have to be with Catherine Byrne, who plays my mum. We have so much fun together and it really feels like a mother, daughter relationship already, on and off set. She's a lady.
Who would you like to work with more?
Again I've had a great time working with all of the actors so far and I am happy to have scenes with any of them. The hen party episode was the only time I had a one-on-one scene with Bryan Murray and in that short space of time I felt there was so much to be learned from him. I would love more scenes with him. Also I would love more scenes with some of the younger actors, like Michael Sheehan, Sam Peter Corry and Victor Burke. I think they're all great.
If you could play any other character in the programme, who would it be and why?
That's another hard question as I feel like the reason the characters are so great is because of what the individual actor brings to them. I guess if I was detached from the show and just watching it as an outsider, my favourite character would have to be Carol. I think Aisling O' Neill is fantastic and can't help but laugh every time.
How long do you see yourself stay in Carrigstown? Could you ever see yourself become an Emily Bishop or Betty Williams?
Oh God, you never know! For the moment I'm just so delighted to be here and I am enjoying every minute of playing Neasa.
Do you think there could be a future for Neasa and Damien or was it just a once off?
No, I think a one night stand was the beginning and end for Neasa and Damien. I think it has caused enough damage, guilt and pain from Damien's end of things that he can barely look at her, let alone be with her again. She's really not interested either I don't think, but then again, it's soap so anything is possible!
Which characters would you like to see Neasa form a friendship with?
Neasa is a real free spirit. She's the type of girl whose friends are generally male so I can see her befriending Wayne in the future or Louie, maybe. When Yvonne is back in town, herself and Neasa will either love or hate one another, it will be interesting to see!
Out of the following characters Wayne, Dean and Robert, if Neasa had to pick one to have an affair with, one to marry, and one to bury under the garden patio, who would she pick for what, and why?
I think Neasa would have an affair with Dean, as I could see her finding him the 'looker' of the bunch, marrying Wayne, as I think they may have a similar sense of humour. I think she'd appreciate his cheeky ways. And I think she'd definitely bury Robert, I can see them seriously clashing in terms of their personalities! I just don't think she would get him!
Rumour has it, that in an attempt to really rub salt in Suzanne's wounds, Neasa is going to embark on a love affair with Bela Doyle! What do you think of that storyline and is there any truth to it?
Ha ha, I know she's forth coming with her assets and some may describe her as a flirt or a hussy, but she's not that bad!! Actually, I don't think she could handle Bela Doyle, he'd be too much for her!
Do you find it hard to play drunk or to start crying on set?
I was certainly thrown into the deep end the first week back, with the hen party and the assault stuff. Playing drunk is always a challenge and for an actor the worry is to always over play it but the hardest part for me was to get up on the table and sing 'Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me'. I cringe at that sort of thing!
What did you do before Fair City, acting wise, and have you appeared in anything we might have seen?
I trained to be an actor in the Bachelor in Acting Studies in Trinity College for three years, graduated in May of last year and then was cast in mainly theatre shows such as Rough as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival and then Serious Money as part of the Rough Magic Seeds. I continued to work in theatre for the year until I was cast as Linda in Pat Short's Mattie on RTÉ and a small role in RTÉ's Love/Hate, which will be airing this month. I then got the role of Neasa but hope to continue working on stage as much as possible in the future.
Have you done any modelling?
Modelling was something that never really interested me. I have done a couple of charity fashion shows but that's about it. Acting was always the main priority.
What has been the feedback you've gotten from viewers of the show on your character?
Surprisingly it has all been very positive. Damien and Susanne are such well known and loved characters that I had prepared myself for a bit of stick from viewers for messing that up. Also Neasa is a trouble maker and is slightly spoilt it has to be said, so I was afraid people wouldn't like her, but for the most part everyone has been really supportive and there has been a great response.
How did you get into acting and what's your acting background?
I had a fantastic drama teacher growing up called Maeve O' Donoghue and she instilled a love of acting in me. She encouraged me to audition for a place in Trinity when I was in my Leaving Cert year and I got it. My parents were adamant I continue my speech and drama exams and I went on to complete my speech and drama teaching qualifications with the Leinster School of Music and Drama and then graduated from Trinity, with distinction from the Bachelor in Acting Studies.
If you hadn't gotten into acting, what do you think you'd be doing as a career?
I would probably be primary teaching as that was what I got after my Leaving Cert but had to turn it down much to my parents' disappointment, in order to pursue the acting!
What would you dream role be to play?
There are so many fantastic roles out there that I would love to get my teeth into. I love Shakespeare and I love period drama, but one day, I would love to play Marina Carr's Hester Swane. I'd be happy to hang up my boots after that!
I just want to say a huge thank you for all your questions, interest and fantastic response and support to the new Dillon family and hope that you stay tuned for many more episodes to come. xx