Dervla Kirwan

Last updated on the 19 June 2024 by Maeve

Dervla Kirwan headshot
Mini Biography

Born: 24 October 1971, Churchtown, Dublin, Ireland. 

Dervla Kirwan, youngest of three daughters, was raised by an insurance broker father and a language teacher mother. Loreto Beaufort, a Catholic school, witnessed her early talents, but her burgeoning acting career led to her departure at 16. Completing her education at Sandymount High School, Kirwan’s dedication to her craft was evident.

Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwan in Ballykissangel.
Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwan in Ballykissangel.

The 1990s proved to be a breakout decade for Kirwan. British television became her stomping ground. Audiences were captivated by her portrayal of the feisty Phoebe Bamford in the popular sitcom “Goodnight Sweetheart.” The show’s success not only established her comedic talent but also surprised viewers with her flawless cockney accent, a testament to her impressive range. This was followed by the heartwarming drama “Ballykissangel,” where she co-starred with Stephen Tompkinson. Their on-screen chemistry resonated with fans, earning Kirwan a National Television Award and solidifying her status as a rising star.

Goodnight Sweetheart - Nicholas Lyndhurst and Dervla Kirwan
Goodnight Sweetheart – Nicholas Lyndhurst and Dervla Kirwan

Throughout the 2000s, Dervla Kirwan continued to grace British television screens. She tackled diverse roles in “Hearts and Bones,” “55 Degrees North” and the miniseries “True Dare Kiss,” further demonstrating her adaptability. Forays into film included the critically acclaimed “Ondine,” a performance that won her an Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA).

Dervla Kirwan is married to fellow actor Rupert Penry-Jones and they have two children. Beyond acting, Kirwan is a skilled musician, adept at playing an impressive array of instruments, including the piano, saxophone and violin.


Suggested viewing


Smother (2021)

Smother poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.6

A family celebration on the windswept Irish coast turns deadly when the husband is found dead at the foot of a cliff. His grieving wife, suspecting foul play, looks into the hidden resentments within her family, uncovering secrets that blur the lines between accident and murder.

Top cast: Dervla Kirwan, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Niamh Walsh, Elijah O’Sullivan, Justine Mitchell, Carrie Crowley, Conor Mullen, Éanna Hardwicke, Seána Kerslake.


Ballykissangel (1996)

Ballykissangel poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.5

An idealistic young English priest clashes with a fiery pub owner and a gruff superior in a charming Irish village, grappling with cultural differences, small-town secrets and the blossoming of unlikely friendships and desires.

Top cast: Stephen Tompkinson, Dervla Kirwan, Frankie McCafferty, Joe Savino, Deirdre Donnelly, Gary Whelan, Áine Ní Mhuirí, Niall Toibin, Tina Kellegher, Tony Doyle, Peter Hanly, Bosco Hogan, Lorcan Cranitch, Victoria Smurfit.


Goodnight Sweetheart (1993)

Goodnight Sweetheart poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.4

A disgruntled husband stumbles upon a time portal, leading a double life between war-torn London, where he romances a barmaid and the modern world, where he juggles his nagging wife and keeping his fantastical secret.

Top cast: Nicholas Lyndhurst, Dervla Kirwan, Victor McGuire, Christopher Ettridge, Elizabeth Carling, Emma Amos, Michelle Holmes.


55 Degrees North (2004)

55 Degrees North poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.9

A London detective, exiled for exposing corruption, finds himself demoted to the night shift in a gritty northern city. Despite clashing with his new colleagues and a demanding boss, his sharp mind and sense of justice lead him to tackle complex cases.

Top cast: Don Gilet, Dervla Kirwan, Andrew Dunn, George Harris, Mark Stobbart, Michael Hodgson, Darren Morfitt, Emma Cleasby.


Dervla Kirwan full filmography @ Wikipedia
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments