Who is Maria Doyle Kennedy?

Maria Josephine Doyle Kennedy was born in Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland, on 25 September 1964 – her zodiac sign is Libra, and she holds Irish nationality. She’s an actress, film writer, director, and a singer, with more than 50 acting credits to her name, probably still known best for her portrayal of Queen Catherine of Aragon in the critically acclaimed historical drama “The Tudors”. It was created by Michael Hirst, starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill and Anthony Brophy, and tells the story of the life of King Henry VIII; the series aired from 2007 to 2010, and won 55 awards, including six Primetime Emmys, while it was nominated for 82 other awards.

Early life and education

Maria was raised in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland alongside her brother and sister, by their father who was a broker, and their mother who was a housewife; not a lot else is known about Maria’s family, as she respects their privacy.

They moved to Bray, County Wicklow when Maria was around six years old, and it was about that time that she became interested in singing. She was 13 when she sang in public for the first time, at one of her parents’ parties, and Maria then spent her teenage years hoping that she’d eventually become a professional singer.

She studied at a local high school, and upon matriculating in 1983, enrolled at Trinity College Dublin, from which she graduated with a joint honours degree in business and political science in 1987.

Career as a singer

Maria launched her career in music when she joined the Irish rock ‘n’ roll group Hothouse Flowers; she was still attending Trinity at that time.

Not long after graduation, Maria became a member of The Black Velvet Band, and in 1989 they released their debut album entitled “When Justice Came”; it peaked at #4 on the Irish charts, and was ranked amongst the best albums of the ‘80s. The Black Velvet Band released their second album “King of Myself” in 1992.

Maria quit the group a couple of years later, and began pursuing a solo career. She signed with Mermaid Records in 2000, and her debut album “Charm” came out in 2001. Her second album “Skullcover” was released in 2004, and comprised Maria’s covers of many famous songs, including “Video Killed the Radio Star” and “Lovesong”.

A couple of her following works were the 2007 alternative folk album “Mutter”, her and her husband Kieran’s 2011 collaborative album “The Storms Are on the Ocean”, and her 2012 folk album “Sing”.

Most recently, on 4 May 2021, Maria’s 10th album came out, entitled “Fire on the Roof of Eden”.

Roles in movies

Maria didn’t want to launch her acting career until she had established herself as a successful singer. She made her debut film appearance in the 1991 hit musical comedy “The Commitments”, directed by Alan Parker, and which starred Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne and Angeline Ball. It follows Jimmy Rabbite from Dublin, who’s formed a soul band with his working class friends; the movie won 11 of the 25 awards for which it was nominated, including an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing.

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A couple of Maria’s following roles were in the 1995 drama “Nothing Personal”, the 1996 romantic drama “Moll Flanders”, and the 1997 romantic thriller drama “The Break”.

In the new millennium, she played Rosemary Ryan in the 2005 drama “Tara Road”, directed by Gillies MacKinnon, and which starred Jean-Marc Barr, Sarah Bolger and John G. Brennan. It follows an Irish and an American woman who’ve agreed to swap houses, and the movie was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award for Best Film.

Maria portrayed Aleksa in the 2015 action science fiction adventure movie “Jupiter Ascending”, and played Peggy Nottingham in the critically acclaimed 2016 horror thriller “The Conjuring 2”.

Her most recent movie role has been her voicing of Mebh’s Mother, Moll MacTire, in the 2020 animated family adventure “WolfWalkers”, written and directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, and which starred Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker and Sean Bean. It follows a young girl who’s moved with her hunter father to Ireland, after he’s been employed to hunt down the last wolf pack; it won 30 of the 98 awards for which it was nominated, including an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

Roles in TV series

Maria made her debut TV series appearance in the 1998 episode “Night of the Nearly Dead” of the comedy “Father Ted”, and the following years saw her appear in an episode or two of several series, such as the crime drama “DDU”, and the dramas “Oliver Twist” and “Queer as Folk”.

In 2006, she portrayed Roisin in the drama “Sorted”; it starred Hugo Speer, Neil Dudgeon and Cal MacAninch, and follows Radge who’s spent the majority of his life drinking and seducing women, while he now has to change for the sake of his 12-year-old son Ryan.

Between 2011 and 2014, Maria played one of the lead characters Mairead Mhic Iarnain in the crime drama “Corp & Anam”. The series also starred Diarmuid de Faoite and Linda Bhreathnach, and follows the work of TV crime correspondent Cathal; it won two of the eight awards for which it was nominated.

Some of Maria’s most recent roles in TV series have been in three episodes of the action adventure drama “The Wheel of Time” in 2021, 11 episodes of the romantic fantasy drama “Outlander” since 2018, and 10 episodes of the mystery crime drama “Recipes for Love and Murder” since the first half of 2022.

Other credits

She worked as a junior production manager on the 2011 TV special “The Orange British Academy Film Awards”.

Maria wrote and directed the 2017 short movie “A Different Kind of Day”.

She’s made a guest appearance in a couple of talk-shows, including “The Dunphy Show” and “Xpose”.

Awards and nominations

Maria’s won five of the 12 awards for which she’s been nominated: some of her wins include a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series, for “The Tudors”; a 2014 Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Series for “Orphan Black”; and a 2022 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama, for “Kin”.

Thanks very much for the nomination @iftaacademy and for all the #ifta love peoples. Honoured to be in the frame with…

Posted by Maria Doyle Kennedy on Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Husband and children

Maria isn’t very open when it comes to sharing details of her love life with her fans, but has still allowed all to have a glimpse into it. She met musician Kieran Kennedy at one of her gigs, and he then invited Maria to sing on his demo; it turned into their first date, and after only a couple of months of being together, Maria and Kieran married in a small private ceremony in 1988, attended by only a couple of their closest friends and family members.

They have three sons together, although Maria also has a son from a previous relationship.

She hasn’t mentioned any other men whom she’s perhaps been with, and as of July 2022, she’s married to Kieran Kennedy.

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Hobbies and other interests

Maria’s a philanthropist, and has worked with a couple of charity organizations, while mostly with those that aim to help underprivileged children; she’s today involved in helping those affected by the war in Ukraine.

One of Maria’s hobbies is running her Instagram account, which is today followed by more than 60,000 people, and numbers over 1,500 pictures uploaded onto it; as she’s also interested in photography, many of these pictures have been taken by her.

Maria has her own favorite musicians, some of whom are Billie Holiday, John Prine and Donal Lunny.

She also has her own favorite actresses, Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith, while a couple of her favorite movies include the franchise “Harry Potter”, “Death on the Nile” and “The Lady in the Van”.

Age, height and net worth

Maria’s age is 57. She has long brown hair and light blue eyes, her height is 5ft 6ins (1.7m) and she weighs around 130lbs (60kgs).

As of July 2022, Maria’s net worth has been estimated at over $1 million.

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