Interview with Cillian Murphy: ‘I just really like the Irish’ – Murphy on the move and the importance of raising ’empathetic boys’

Actor Cillian Murphy said returning to Ireland with his wife and children was the “best decision” the family ever made.

The Peaky Blinders star, 46, and his wife Yvonne moved to Dublin with their family from London in 2017 after more than 14 years in the UK.

“I’ve always been very proud that I’m Irish and my wife is Irish and the kids were a certain age (and) we wanted them to be close to their (grand)parents. It’s just that there are fewer people here, that was a consideration,” he laughed.

“It was the best decision we made to come back, 100 percent. It really was. I think that’s a tale of the Irish going away and coming back, you know? Seems to be so. I’d rather be in Ireland.

“It certainly seems in my game that people go away for long periods of time to kind of establish themselves or whatever it may be, to prove that you can play other roles than an Irish person, and to go after to come home.

“I just really like the Irish.”

The Cork native spoke alongside Professor Pat Dolan to discuss the new book they have published, Ionbhá: The Empathy Book for Ireland.

The book was published by Mercier Press and all proceeds “go directly to the delivery of the Activating Social Empathy educational program in Irish schools and youth work organisations”.

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The couple are working on an awareness campaign on emotional awareness and what empathy means to the people of Ireland.

Murphy said it’s something that can be taught in secondary schools and that 100 schools have embraced the program so far.

“The plan is to get it in every secondary school in Ireland, in my own life I’ve thought about how relevant it is to me and I think it’s relevant to me in my job,” he told Brendan O’Connor on RTE.

“I think it’s probably at the heart of an actor’s craft, if I may use that word, it’s important to have empathy and understand another character.

“The other factor was being a father of two boys and I think it’s very important for us to raise boys that we have empathy for them and try to raise empathetic boys.”

Prof Dolan said research shows young people get better grades when they learn empathy classes in school.

“Empathy is a practice but it’s the secret ingredient because it’s the difference in youth, like being less narcissistic, less homophobic bullying or whatever it is, it’s the only common thread,” he said.

“The teenage brain is still growing, and one of the good things that’s growing is the ability in your brain to develop empathy.” Interview with Cillian Murphy: ‘I just really like the Irish’ – Murphy on the move and the importance of raising ’empathetic boys’

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