Welcome to Ireland- Metdown of an Irish Tour Guide

Tells Jack’s story, a disgruntled Irish tour guide trying to keep his head above water while in danger of losing his home. By day he sells ‘Brand Ireland’ to tourists from far and wide with enchanting tales of ceol and craic; by night, he faces the threat of eviction from his chronically damp Capel Street flat, feeling the floor falling from under his feet, with no hope of escape. ‘Welcome To  Ireland  – Meltdown of an Irish Tour Guide’ is too topical for comfort, confronting Ireland’s rental crisis and how one man battles to keep afloat in a city sinking under greed. A story told with humour, passion, truth and a comically unfiltered mind.

We spoke with actor Jack Walsh in advance of the show.

Can you tell us a bit about you? Where did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in Cork, left for Dublin at the age of 20 and started doing acting classes, where I discovered the wonderful world of theatre. Back in those days mime seemed like a career choice, these days people would presume you were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Anyway I went off to Paris and studied mime, acting, dance, acrobatics and fencing, and had a great time working with people from all over the world.

Tell us about your background in the arts?
I trained first with Deirdre O Connell at the Focus Theatre, and at the Oscar School of Acting, then at L’Ecole de Mimodrame de Paris, Marcel Marceau, for 3 years. I was Marceau’s assistant in international workshops and performed all over Europe in physical theatre shows. I came back to Ireland and have worked in theatre, film and television ever since. Theatre is my first love, and when I started working part time as a tour guide to supplement my income, mainly due to rising rents, I realised there was a story to be told.

Have you been involved in any productions in the Civic before?
Yes, The Odd Couple, directed by Sighle Toibin.

What can Tallaght audiences expect from Welcome to Ireland – Meltdown of an Irish Tour Guide?
A rollicking roller coaster of a show, full of humour and passion, where I play all the characters in my life, tourists, landlords, saints, even a squirrel, as a tour guide in danger of homelessness wondering why he’s breaking his backside selling a country that seems to have no place for him anymore.

Tell us a random fact about yourself?
Classmates in my acting school offered to do a parachute jump to raise money for me to go to mime school, which was very nice of them. But it cost so much to insure each person that it only made sense for one person to do it, so I did it, figuring that it would be less embarrassing if the parachute that didn’t open was mine. Seemed like an idea at the time.

What’s next for you?
Season 2 of KIN (RTE), and a film called VISITATION.

Welcome to Ireland- Meltdown of an Irish Tour Guide
Thurs 16 March | 8pm