After almost two decades living in Hollywood, actress Nora-Jane Noone has relocated back to her childhood home of Galway along with her husband and young daughter.
Nora-Jane was catapulted to stardom following her breakout role in the critically acclaimed film, The Magdalene Sisters, where she played the role of a pregnant teen who finds herself at the mercy of sadistic nuns in a Magdalene laundry.
She subsequently departed the West of Ireland for Tinseltown, where she enjoyed 19 successful on-screen years in a variety of roles.
But following the birth of her first child, Nora-Jane admits she was born for home. She told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘I’ve moved home, back to Galway permanently.’
The talented thespian is currently blazing a trail in RTÉ’s hit crime drama Hidden Assets, in which she plays the role of Detective Sergeant Clare Wallace, who is intent on bringing down white collar criminals.
‘I ended up being here since January with work, then I ended up moving everything home fully in June or July after we finished up on Hidden Assets,’ said Nora-Jane. ‘I’ve been back and forward a lot with work. I did have chunks of time home, but the last time I lived here full-time was 18 or 19 years ago.’
Nora-Jane came to appreciate there really is no place like home. ‘I had been here on and off for little pieces and there’s always things that you miss from home. But having my own little girl I really started to miss home and being around family. And just all the things you had from your own childhood. It’s not the same in LA – it’s a hardened city, it’s very adult-oriented. People can be very warm and everything – but it’s just that there are a lot of big city problems.’
She contrasts this with her native Galway, where she says her neighbors go back generations together.
‘The people on my street now at home in Galway, the people my parents’ age, they’ve all been here for 40 years together. Their kids grew up together, we all played together. You stand outside the front garden, people are chatting away over the walls, you see the people five houses up waving and asking how you are.’
She says her young daughter has also settled well into Irish life. ‘It’s lovely with my little girl being so small, to see those young years and really bond and have that time together. It’s really lovely. She has three cousins here and she is always so excited to go and see her cousins.
‘Even just the little traditions at Christmas. We were here during the pandemic so even just remembering us putting up the tree in the same place and hanging the same decorations; that was special. She’s going to pre-school where I went to pre-school. The principal was a teacher when I was there. And one of my daughter’s teachers there, I went to school with her sister.’
The move home coincided with her being cast as a detective in Hidden Assets, a role she relishes. ‘It was just such a lovely way to come home to such an amazing job,’ she said.
The hit show is set to reach its climatic end next week, and Nora-Jane says playing a CAB officer was thrilling, even if she only had ten days to prepare for the part.
She said she only learned she landed the role as she was filming with fellow Irish actor, Banshees of Inisherin star Barry Keoghan.
‘To be honest I literally had ten days to prepare for the shoot. I found out when I was filming Bring Them Down with Barry Keoghan, Colm Meaney and Christopher Abbott. So, I was doing that and then I found out I was doing that and filming was starting in ten days or so.’
Nora-Jane had warm praise for Keoghan, with whom she starred in the 2013 short, Wasted. She recalls: ‘I think he was only 18 at the time, he was just starting out. He has a very endearing personality. It was really exciting to work with him.’