Irons: 'Acting offers holiday from life'
on 14/09/2013 00:00:00
"So, being middle class, I chose the theatre," he told an audience of students and fans at NUI Galway's Literary and Debating Society.
"I liked the people, loved the smells and the hours and, in particular, the way in which you could concentrate on your little bit and the fact that it gave you a holiday from life."
In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has come to be regarded as one of the outstanding stage and film actors of his generation. Yet, he dismissed the notion that fame was in any way something to be sought.
"Fame means nothing. It has no value. It just means that more people know you than you know," he insisted.
The celebrity culture and the way in which people followed the lives, the recipes and the dresses of the so-called famous was part of the illness of society, he said.
The 65-year-old husband of actress Sinead Cusack admitted he could not speak as freely as he might wish at public events because of the manner in which social media and journalists "hopped" on his words and published them, "and I'd be made to feel like mud".
He had been a lot luckier than his talent should have allowed him, he told his audience. Now that he was over 60 and had less energy, he could work when he wanted.
"I sail my boats and ride my horses and when I want to go to work, I go to work.
"It's a bit like being a king," he said.