Donegal Born Patrick Keeney retired in Connemara – a retirement career as a TV and Movie Extra

Patrick Keeney, originally from Meenabrock, Dunkinneely, Ardara in South Donegal but now living in Connemara is celebrating 21 years as a TV Extra with TG4’s hugely popular drama series Ros na Rún which is now in its 28th season.

One could say Patrick Keeney has had a career as a TV Extra with TG4’s Ros na Rún as he’s on set  throughout the shows 24 week filming season alongside it’s most popular characters Tadhg, played by Macdara Ó Fatharta, feisty Caitriona Ní Loideáin played by Máire Éilís Ní Fhlatharta both of whom have been with Ireland’s only rural TV drama series since its first episode.

Since retiring from Retail management in the UK, Patrick has been a TV and Movie Extra. As well as  working with Ros na Rún, he has also worked on the Irish TV shows Obituary and Normal People. His most recent movie was Liam Neeson’s Irish Film, In the Land of Saints and Sinners which was filmed in Donegal last year.

Patrick left Ardara in County Donegal in the 1970’s having worked in Guilding for 5 years having trained in Rotterdam. Like many others of that era, he found himself in London with the ambition of following a career in Guilding but due to its specialist nature Patrick diversified and had a successful career in  Retail Management with Fine Fare and ABF who owned multiple outlets both in Ireland and the UK. He climbed the ranks in Retail finishing in Bakery management which opened the door for him as a TV Commercial Extra. One of their prime bakery units was based close to the Thames TV and Channell 4 studios and from here Patrick got his taste for being an extra. Advertising agents would include him in the background of consumer TV commercials and he enjoyed  being part of it and little by little he featured more and more in commercial advertising. This led him to signing with an agent, and in 2002 he retired from Retail Management pursuing his growing interest in TV Extra work. He went on to feature as an Extra in the hit TV series EastEnders, Holby City, The Bill and he also spent 7 weeks working with Sir Tom Courtney on a movie set. He also featured as an Extra in the Bloody Sunday Movie. In 2000 he retired from Retail Management working fulltime as a TV Extra before retiring to Ireland at 50 with his wife and together they’ve made Ballyconneely and Connemara their home.

“We weren’t too long at home in Ballyconneely, when a neighbour told me about the TG4 drama series Ros na Rún and the possible opportunity of being an extra. I made contact and the rest is history. I’m either a watcher, a Taxi driver or a Courier and on occasion, I’ve been a Postman too but that’s before Seán Misteál who plays the well known character David in Ros na Rún was cast as the local postman. I enjoy it thoroughly, there’s a wonderful team here from actors to crew and it’s one big happy family, I really do love it”.

Now a professional TV and Film Extra, when Ros na Rún finish filming every February, Patrick takes himself to other TV or Film sets all over Ireland and he’s well recognised and established in the industry for his professionalism.  

“I guess I learnt the trade well in London and it was a nice sideline job to my retail management position and at the time, they somewhat complimented each other. I feel very lucky to have worked with some of Ireland’s, the UK’s and the World’s greatest actors as well as Film and TV Directors. It’s the perfect job for anyone who’s retired,” says Patrick Keeney.

Patrick has also been a volunteer radio presenter with Connemara Community Radio and has a huge interest in country music and has been part of a two piece band for a number of years too.

Extra’s form an integral part of the Ros na Rún drama series and other extra’s of note on TG4’s Ros na Rún include accomplished musician Joyce Redmond, who was the inspiration for Steve Earle’s Galway Girl. She too has featured on multiple music videos and plays a weekly gig in the Crane Bar in Galway. Joyce is originally from Howth in Dublin where her father was a fisherman.  He fell in love with a lady from Inis Mór on the Aran Islands. Spending childhood summers on Inis Mór inspired Joyce Redmond’s love of the west of Ireland, traditional music and the Irish Language and of course Ros na Rún. She’s since made Galway her home.

Ros na Rún is filmed at an Cuasnóg in an Spidéal in the Connemara Gaeltacht and is a co-production between Dánú Media and Tyrone Productions for TG4. Sponsored by XL Ireland,  Ros na Rún has welcomed big names include Fiachna O Braoináin of the Hot House Flowers,  Daniel O Donnell, Nathan Carter, Francis Brennan, Stephen Fry and a host of other personalities. At it’s core is delivering the reality of rural Irish life in today’s modern and open society. All of which is  centered on exciting and gripping story lines which are delivered by passionate actors who’re supported by a highly talented crew. Broadcast on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s on TG4 at 8.30pm it also has an omnibus on Sunday evening at 7.30pm and is available on both the TG4 and RTE players worldwide.

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