Is Ayo Edebiri Irish? How She Became Ireland’s Sweetheart


Irish legends.
Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for FIJI Water

Found family? More like found country. Ayo Edebiri’s roots lie in a North Atlantic island nation best known in America for its export of the most talented actors of our generation (looking at you, Colin Farrell). “bottoms is out rn in the UK & my home nation of Ireland,” she captioned a TikTok promoting her lesbian fight-club comedy. For those leading a blissfully unplugged life, it was their first time hearing of Edebiri’s Irish roots. Like, wait — aren’t Edebiri’s parents Bajan and Nigerian? Yes, per biography.com. However, there are moments in life when your full heritage stumbles into view, only for you to fully adopt a self you didn’t even know existed.

For Edebiri, that moment came in March 2023 when an Irish accent leaped from her tongue as naturally as any native speaker’s would. By January 2024, Edebiri had thanked her family in Ireland on major stages, reposted congratulations from an Irish publication, and fielded questions about why people think she’s Irish. She is, but we reached out to the taoiseach’s office (Ireland’s prime minister) for comment.

Ireland embraced Ayo, too. The Irish Times said they’re “proud” to call Edebiri Irish. According to the Times’s reasoning, its loads better than being called British. Can’t argue with that one. Irish actors Cillian Murphy (see photo above), Paul Mescal, and Nicola Coughlan signaled their support for Edebiri. Below, everything that went down during Edebiri and Ireland’s journey of finding each other.

June 17, 2020: Before the world realizes Edebiri is Ireland’s sweetheart, she’s just a girl on a podcast talking about Ireland’s other sweetheart. In an episode of Iconography, Edebiri and co-host Olivia Craighead (now a writer at the Cut) discuss Irish king Colin Farrell. Guest of the pod and journalist David Sims chooses the topic for the show that is basically an hourlong dish about a guest’s favorite icon. According to our research, it’s the earliest moment in recorded history that she has something about Ireland on her mind.

August 2021: Edebiri reconnects with the soil of her kin. She returns to Ireland to film The Banshees of Inisherin on location with fellow countrymen Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan. Edebiri and Farrell co-lead the film, playing Jenny the Donkey and Pádraic, respectively.

March 22, 2023: Ireland’s people’s princess graces the Bottoms red carpet. Although she’s supposed to be promoting her latest film about lesbian incels, she instead tells Letterboxd about how she prepared for her role as Jenny. “I lived in Ireland for about four months, and I got really in character and I was on all fours for four months and it was really painful — but beautiful as well,” she said in her native Irish accent. The public begins to put two and two together as this video spreads all over the internet.

September 22, 2023: She passes the Paul Mescal vibe check. Together, the pair turn up at Milan Fashion Week’s Gucci after-party.

November 9, 2023: Edebiri calls Ireland her “home nation” in a TikTok caption.

November 21, 2023: Mescal teases a rom-com comeback starring Ireland’s finest. “In the next five years, I’m going to set myself a challenge to do maybe, like, a rom-com with Ayo. Or something like that would be cool,” he tells AwardsWatch.

January 6, 2024: She connects with brethren Andrew Scott at W magazine’s Best Performances party.

January 7, 2024: Scott and Edebiri link again, this time at the Golden Globes. The All of Us Strangers actor “leapt out of his seat like a CANNON when Ayo Edebiri won,” journalist Kyle Buchanan reported. A win for Edebiri is a win for Ireland … which is a win for him, too, by the transitive property.

January 10, 2024: A film journal becomes one of the first to recognize Edebiri as Irish. Film in Dublin’s official Twitter account sends its congratulations to “Ireland’s own Ayo Edebiri” for her 2024 BAFTA Rising Star Award nom. It went on to publish a full account of the actress’s best Irish roles in an article. Titled “The Best Irish Films Starring Ireland’s Ayo Edebiri, Who Is Irish,” movies include Banshees, obviously, children’s-entertainment staple The Morbegs’ Finnegans Wake, and the blockbuster Michael Collins.

January 11, 2024: Edebiri and Keoghan wear matching sleeveless white suits to their respective red carpets. The former attends the AFI Awards luncheon, while the latter premieres his new show, Masters of the Air. We’re not ignorant — we know this isn’t some kind of Irish uniform, but it could be if they wanted.

January 14, 2024: She wins a Critics Choice Award for The Bear. Edebiri thanked her family in Boston, Nigeria, Barbados … and “Ireland, in many ways.”

January 15, 2024: Edebiri gives a “shout-out to my people” in the Irish cities of Derry, Cork, Killarney, and Dublin during an Emmys interview with Entertainment Tonight. Later on, she wins yet another trophy for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Bear. The Irish Times is gonna have to revise its best-Irish-actors-of-all-time list soon.

January 16, 2024: Derry Girls’ Coughlan reposts a video of Edebiri’s Emmys shout-out to Irish cities. “We’re so proud of our girl,” she captions the Instagram Story.

February 3, 2024: While hosting Saturday Night Live, Edebiri repped Ireland by wearing a shamrock shirt while introducing Jennifer Lopez’s second musical performance of the night.

Photo: NBC

This post has been updated.


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