George Clooney, whose ancestors emigrated from County Kilkenny in 1857, recently took his first trip to Ireland over Easter (which he spent with the Irish rock star Bono) and stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! to share the tale.
“I’d never been to Ireland,” the actor told Kimmel, who also has Irish ancestry. “And my name is Clooney, so you’d think I should have gone there at some point.”
Clooney, who stars in Hulu’s upcoming adaptation of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, took the trip with his wife Amal along with their young twins and shared how he met with some of his Irish relatives and initially mistook their hotel for the Clooney ancestral castle.
“We planned to go with my mom and dad because they know some of my Irish relatives,” Clooney said, but after his father was forced to have hernia surgery as a result of doing “300 sit-ups a day,” the family endeavored to take the trip on their own.
“We sort of planted out in a hotel. I hadn’t planned the whole thing out myself and we walk into this castle and I thought, ‘Wow, the Clooneys are doing alright over here.'”
“Your relatives have a castle!” Kimmel asked excitedly.
“No, they don’t! It was a hotel; I thought it was theirs. No, I walked into the hotel and was like, ‘Whoa, we never should have left!'”
Asked whether it was strange meeting distant relatives for the first time, Clooney said, “Well it was odd, but I also have to say there’s this other part of you which you sort of do feel this weird connection to and you can see some resemblance in the eyes and things like that.”
Of his relatives he also joked that he “spent the afternoon trying to understand what they were saying.”
As for Easter, Clooney and his family spent it as only the Clooneys can. “We went to Bono’s house for Easter, as you do. We try to only do Easter with rock stars,” Clooney joked. “It was a beautiful day, it was fun; Ireland is spectacular!”
Skip ahead to the three minute mark to here the full Ireland story: