Matt Damon, long-associated with the Brand X form of Irishness that is being from Boston, has now been claimed by the motherland in what appears to be the nation’s first move to reabsorb its diaspora. An article in The New York Times by Heather Murphy details this initial salvo in what we can only assume is a long-planned secret war meant to win back all of Greater Boston’s population, starting with the celebrities and their tantalizing, obscenely large taxable incomes.
Apparently Damon—who, and this is not a joke, is referred to as “Matt O’Damon” by his new community—has been spotted in Killiney and is living in Dalkey, “a seaside resort town” with 8,000 occupants “about nine miles southeast of Dublin.” The actor was in Ireland to shoot scenes for Ridley Scott’s upcoming period piece, The Last Duel, around “mid-March” when the coronavirus quarantine went into effect. Seeing an opportunity, the residents of the village have adopted him as their own.
Over the last month, locals have spotted Damon out and about, “[popping] into the pub” or “[jogging] past someone on a hill.” Buzz.ie collected a few of the tweets posted after a photo of Damon in sweat pants and holding a grocery bag began to spread, and Murphy’s Times article includes quotes from arguments on a regional Facebook page about whether people are actually impressed by seeing a celebrity around town.
Murphy says she read “around 100 different” variations of residents telling her to leave him alone when asking for their comments on Damon being a new neighbor, including claims, from a user named Mick Mullen, that “Us Irish don’t get star struck.’” This may have something to do with the fact that the seaside village Damon’s made home is where a lot of rich celebrities live (the article mentions Bono and Enya have houses nearby) and that the locals are just used to seeing them. But Murphy also says she found a few people “brave enough to say” that actually, yeah, they were impressed by having a famous actor hanging out in Dalkey.
All of this seems besides the point when we remember that none of these kinds of quotes are to be trusted. It’s clear that, having secured Damon, the Irish now possess a valuable hostage that will provide important leverage as they continue to absorb the celebrity population of the Greater Boston area. Soon, we will hear reports of the region’s most powerful sons and daughters—Ben Affleck, Conan O’Brien, and Uma Thurman—disappearing from their beds late at night, reappearing days later in Irish mansions. How far Ireland is willing to go to reclaim the American region is yet to be seen: If the Wahlbergs and Denis Leary show up there, we’ll know they’re serious about taking absolutely everyone.
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