American actor and director Dermot Mulroney was born on the 31st October 1963, Alexandria, Virginia. Mulroney's ancestors emigrated from County Donegal and County Mayo during the Irish Potato Famine: “I was conscious of my Irish background growing up,” he reveals. “My parents both have simpler names like Michael and Ellen, but they gave us these distinctively Irish names. My two older brothers are Sean and Conor. My Younger brother is Kieran and my sister is Moira. All the other kids were like Todd, Sheryl or Stephanie or something so our names set us apart right from the start".
Mulroney was actuely aware of his Irish identity growing up: “There were a lot of Irish families in our neighborhood growing up. It was only after I left home that I realized that there are lots of people out there in America that weren’t Irish Catholics. Or that there weren’t as many of us as I thought there were at first”.
Curiosity about his own roots eventually led Mulroney to Ireland. “I have been over only once 15 years ago and I wandered through Donegal. I noticed a road sign on the way for a town called Mulraney, but this was long before you could GPS anything,” Mulroney recalled. “I haven’t been back to Ireland since but I enjoyed my visit. My ancestors came over in the famine times and they’ve all been here since the 19th century so we’re all Yanks!"
Mulroney knows that if the acting parts ever dry up he can turn to his other passion most likely also inherited from his Irish background, music. A keen singer,guitarist,cello and mandolin player he appeared on Melissa Etheridge's 1992 album Never Enough as well as being a member of The Low & Sweet Orchestra. In America he has gained a niche following as part of The Cranky George Trio alongside James Fearnley of The Pogues and his brother Kieran.
Mulroney has starred in a string hit movies over the years including My Best Friend’s Wedding, Young Guns, The Wedding Date and Longtime Companion and maintains a strong American/Irish identity that he attributes to his success: "I had good family influences growing up with museums and going to symphonies and so forth which helped a lot. I credit my parents for filling me in about where beauty lies. I think that is another Irish trait; you can find beauty anywhere”.