PICS: Jeremy Clarkson throws shade at the BBC by showing off his massive new car show crew

K2 Twins reveal they were offered R425k to masturbate and ejaculate in public at an art show

Liam Neeson awarded freedom of home town

2013-01-29 08:45
Belfast - Hollywood star Liam Neeson went back to the stage where he first trod the boards as he was awarded the freedom of his home town of Ballymena in Northern Ireland on Monday.

The star of Schindler's List and Michael Collins started his acting career performing in pantomimes at the town's Braid Theatre.

Ballymena's mayor PJ McAvoy referred to his role in the later Star Wars as he told Neeson during the ceremony at the theatre: "May the force be with you."

A delighted Neeson, 60, said that despite his globetrotting life he was still "99.9 percent Ballymena".

He was offered the honour in 2000 but refused it because of a furore when he was quoted as saying he felt "second class" as a Catholic growing up in the mainly Protestant town.

'I am just privileged to receive this'

On Monday, Neeson said he regretted turning down the honour, but said he was happy to return to Northern Ireland at a time when the province - torn apart by three decades of sectarian strife until the 1990s - is largely peaceful.

"They were different times, just different times, and luckily we have moved on," Neeson said.

"I am aware of the work that you have been doing the past few years, coming out of the darkness that we all had and hopefully leaving all that behind us - new days, new times - and I am just privileged to receive this," he said.

His mother Kitty was among friends and family who greeted Neeson, wearing blue shirt and dark suit though no tie, as he arrived for the ceremony.

One of his school friends, Seamus McQuillan, recalled that he and Neeson had been undecided about whether to perform in a school play.

"Then somebody said a certain young lady in the class was going to be in the play so then we said 'right, we will go'."

Read more on:    liam neeson  |  belfast  |  celebrities
NEXT ON CHANNEL24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Recent News

Shakira used her star power to share the burden and prioritize the protection of refugees. Read More »

Jackie Collins dies

2015-09-20 15:46

The Hollywood Wives novelist and actress Jackie Collins has died of breast cancer at age 77. Read More »

inside channel 24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.