Eileen O'Higgins

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Eileen O'Higgins
Eileen ohiggins 2022 1.jpg
O'Higgins in 2022
Alma mater
  • Actress

Eileen O'Higgins is a Northern Irish actress. Her breakthrough role was in the play Hold Your Tongue, Hold Your Dead which led to a supporting role in the film Brooklyn (2015) and Mary Queen of Scots.

Early life[edit]

O'Higgins grew up in Castlewellan. She attended St. Malachy's Primary School and Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch, County Down. O'Higgins later studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.[1][2]


After graduating, O'Higgins starred in the BBC television miniseries adaptation Emma, and the television film Enid based on the life of Enid Blyton with Helena Bonham Carter (both in 2009). She then appeared in theatre productions including Alice Birch's And Then There Were Four Little Beats of Four Little Hearts on the Edge of the World at The Old Vic.[3] Her breakthrough role was a supporting role as a young pregnant woman in the play Hold Your Tongue, Hold Your Dead. A reviewer for The Harvard Crimson commented that her performance "conveyed an urgency... that was immediate and relatable".[4][5] Her appearance helped her to be cast in a supporting role in her first film Brooklyn (2015) which also starred Saoirse Ronan.[5] O'Higgins then appeared in the BBC television series My Mother and Other Strangers (2016).[6]

O’Higgins reteamed with Ronan in the film Mary Queen of Scots playing Scottish noblewoman Mary Beaton.[7]

In 2020, she appeared in the crime drama series Dead Still and the film Misbehaviour.[8][9]

In 2021, she played the role of ‘Alice’ in Netflix’s series The Irregulars.

In 2022, she starred in Billy the Kid, EPIX TV Series.[10]

Personal life[edit]

O’Higgins is best friends with fellow actress Saoirse Ronan,[11] whom she first met during the filming of Brooklyn in 2014.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
2015 Brooklyn Nancy
2016 The Party Allison
2018 Grace and Goliath Lucy
2018 Mary Queen of Scots Mary Beaton
2020 Misbehaviour Joan Billings
2020 Nowhere Special Shona
2022 The Queue Amy
TBA James and Lucia Lucia Joyce pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Enid Maid Maggie
2009 Miss Martin 1 Emma 2 episodes
2016 My Mother and Other Strangers Emma Coyne 5 episodes
2018 Genius Eva Gouel
2020 Dead Still Nancy Vickers 6 episodes
2021 The Irregulars Alice 3 episodes
2022 Billy the Kid[12] Kathleen McCarty 4 episodes


  1. ^ "Castlewellan actress Eileen makes debut with cinema movie stars". Down Recorder. 28 October 2015.
  2. ^ Lee, Jenny (26 February 2016). "Castlewellan's Eileen O'Higgins on her journey to the Oscars". The Irish News.
  3. ^ "24 Hour Plays 2010". British Theatre Guide.
  4. ^ McGlathery, Michael L. (30 September 2013). ""Hold Your Tongue" Speaks Out".
  5. ^ a b c Barter, Pavel (27 January 2019). "Eileen O'Higgins is ready to rule". The Sunday Times.(subscription required)
  6. ^ "Eileen O'Higgins plays Emma Coyne". BBC.
  7. ^ "History Scotland's exclusive interview with Eileen O'Higgins, who plays Mar". History Scotland.
  8. ^ Michael Starr, "‘Dead Still’ gives look into creepy world of Victorian-era death photography". The New York Post, May 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Rising star Eileen O'Higgins takes role of friend very seriously". Sunday Life. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  10. ^ Catig, Gary (12 May 2022). "'Billy the Kid' - Eileen O'Higgins breaks down the emotional final moments between mother and son • AIPT". Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  11. ^ Horan, Niamh (25 August 2019). "'My best friend Saoirse Ronan is like family – she taught me so much' – RTÉ star Eileen O'Higgins". Irish Independent.
  12. ^ "'Billy the Kid' star Eileen O'Higgins talks about bringing Kathleen to life". meaww.com. Retrieved 10 June 2022.

External links[edit]