This spirited versatile actress first came to our attention in the multi award winning sitcom Mrs. Brown’s Boys where she plays the loveable character Winnie McGoogan.
Eilish was born in Dublin in the early fifties and was the second youngest in a family of 10. Her father was a Cabinet Maker; her mother was the first female Labour TD (MP) to be elected in Ireland in 1954. Space was a premium in their two up two down house in Stonybatter, so she never knew the comfort of a bed to herself let alone a room till her early teens – but was never cold.
Eilish developed a passion for performing at a very early age in order to get noticed by her parents and siblings. Nine times out of ten this got her a clip around the ear rather than applause. Despite hardships endured by many a large family at that time, love and laughter were a huge part of her life. Having a younger brother like Brendan (writer and creator of Mrs Brown’s Boys) and a mother who against all odds influenced change particularly for women, inspired her to follow her dreams.
In her early teens Eilish sang and played in a band called The Pentagon performing mainly in pubs and clubs, in fact anywhere that paid enough money for the bus fare home.
In 1971 her singing career was interrupted when she met and married her first husband, making her home in Surrey England. As a mother of two sons, Stuart and Lee, a housewife, and a full time Sales Representative (selling beer), she still found time to join the Windlesham Drama Group playing more roles than she can remember.
In 1997 she returned to Ireland and started working with her brother Brendan O’Carroll (Agnes Brown herself). In 1999 she took to the stage in in the very first of Mrs Brown’s Boys plays as Winnie McGoogan, and life has not been the same since.
Her film work includes’ Mrs Brown D Movie’, Snap, Sparrow’s Trap and a short film called Noreen.
Eilish also penned and performed her own one-woman show called ‘Live Love Laugh’ which premièred in the Dublin Gay International Theatre Festival in 2012 and won the ‘Doric Wilson Intercultural Dialogue Award’… (What a mouthful!). In 2013 she performed her show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to rave reviews.
Eilish made her home in Castltownshend, West Cork. She thought at the time she would stay there for a couple of years and perhaps move back to Dublin. Now she admits that is never going to happen. Happiness is pottering about her small cottage, enjoying long walks, playing her guitar, enjoying the company of good friends and counting her blessings.