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Ardal O'Hanlon was born 8 October 1965 and is an Irish comedian and actor, best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.
O'Hanlon was born in 1965 in Carrickmacross, Monaghan, Ireland, the son of Rory O'Hanlon, an Irish politician and doctor, and has five siblings. RT√Č's Who do you think you are? programme on Monday 6 October 2008 examined Ardal's family tree. He discovered that his paternal grandfather, Michael O'Hanlon, a UCD medicine student, had joined the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence and was a member of Michael Collins's squad which assassinated British secret service agents on the morning of Bloody Sunday. Details of his grandfather's activities survive in UCD Archives, as well as Blackrock College. It also transpired that on his mother's side he was a close relative of Peter Fenelon Collier, the founder of Collier's Weekly and Collier's Encyclopedia. O'Hanlon was schooled in Blackrock College in Dublin and graduated, in 1987, from the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin (now Dublin City University) with a degree in Communications Studies.
As Dublin had no real stand-up comedy scene, together with Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy, Ardal O'Hanlon founded the International Comedy Cellar, upstairs in the International Bar on Dublin's South Wicklow Street. O'Hanlon first found fame as a stand-up comedian, winning the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1994. For a period he was the presenter of The Stand Up Show.
He was spotted by Graham Linehan, who was to cast him as Father Dougal Maguire in Father Ted, which ran between 1995 and 1998. In 1995, he appeared (as Father Dougal) in a Channel 4 ident ("Hello, you're watching.... television"), and during Comic Relief on BBC1. This was followed by the more serious Big Bad World and the award winning short comedy film Flying Saucer Rock'n'Roll.
He also played a minor role in The Butcher Boy as Joe's (Francie's best friend) father, and appeared in an episode of the original Whose Line is it Anyway?.
In 2000, O'Hanlon starred in the comedy series My Hero, in which he played a very naive superhero from the planet Ultron. His character juggled world-saving heroics with life in suburbia. He stayed in the role until early 2005 and was replaced by James Dreyfus for series 6 in 2006.
He also provided the voice of the lead character in two Christmas television cartoon specials of Robbie the Reindeer. He appeared in the 2005 BBC One sitcom Blessed, written by Ben Elton; at the 2005 British Comedy Awards, it was publicly slated by Jonathan Ross, albeit in jest. Towards the end of 2005, he played an eccentric Scottish character, Coconut Tam, in the family-based film, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.
In 2006, O'Hanlon wrote and presented an RTE television series called "Leagues Apart", which saw him investigate the biggest and most passionate football rivalries in a number of European countries. Included were Roma vs Lazio in Italy, Barcelona vs Real Madrid in Spain, and Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce in Turkey. He followed this with another RTE show, So You Want To Be Taoiseach? in 2007. It was a political series where O'Hanlon gave tongue-in-cheek advice on how to go about becoming Taoiseach / Prime Minister of Ireland.
He appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Gridlock", broadcast on April 14, 2007, in which he played a feline alien named Thomas Kincade Brannigan.
O'Hanlon has written a novel, The Talk of the Town (known in the United States as Knick Knack Paddy Whack), which was published in 1998. The novel is about a teenage boy, Patrick Scully, and his friends.
O'Hanlon appears in Series 3 of the TV show Skins, playing Naomi Campbell's Politics teacher named Kieran, who attempted to kiss her. He then went on to form a relationship with Naomi's mother.