Mis-taken identity | 

Liam Neeson books into hotels under the name Michael Collins

The Taken actor famously played the IRA leader in hit 1996 film

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson as Michael Collins in Neil Jordan's 1996 film

Liam Neeson attends the photocall for his new film Marlowe in San Sebastien, Spain© Getty Images

Michael Collins

John TonerSunday Life

Hollywood star Liam Neeson uses the name of Irish republican leader Michael Collins when checking into hotels, a new BBC show has revealed.

Liam famously played the IRA chief in 1996 biopic Michael Collins, which was nominated for two Oscars, broke box office records and grossed over £17.5m in theatres. Collins was shot dead during an ambush by anti-Treaty forces in Co Cork during the Irish Civil War 100 years ago.

In this week’s episode of documentary series The Hotel People it is revealed he adopts Collins’ name when registering at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Holywood, Co Down.

Liam Neeson as Michael Collins in Neil Jordan's 1996 film

Speaking in the show, the Taken star (70) also says he was unable to hack it as a bartender years ago, and therefore has huge admiration for hospitality workers.

“As a young adult I was a barman for maybe three days and I literally could not handle it,” he admits.

“Mainly because I would be taking an order, say someone asks for two gin and tonics, a pint of beer and this and that, I’m trying to calculate that in my head, and as I’m leaving that group they’d say: ‘Oh, forget about the gin and tonic, make it a vodka instead’. It was like ‘argh!’.

“Doing the calculations, I couldn’t handle it, so I have every respect for anyone who works in the hospitality industry and I really mean that.”

The Hotel People is a behind-the-scenes series on Hastings Hotels, which operates the Grand Central, Stormont and Europa hotels in Belfast, the Everglades in Derry, the Ballygally in Co Antrim as well as the Culloden.

The six-parter follows the fortunes of the group as it attempts to rebuild post-pandemic, with the top actor making his cameo in episode six, which is due for broadcast tomorrow night.

Elsewhere in the episode staff at the Culloden are shown making sure the movie star has all his creature comforts on hand, including an exercise bike in his room and his favourite meal of champ and black pudding with wheaten scones.

Michael Collins

He tells the programme: “My favourite food when I come back is an Irish potato, and apparently — I just learnt this a few months ago — someone told me there are 300 varieties of potatoes in Ireland. I never knew that.

“The Irish potatoes, especially champ, it’s comfort food, it’s like ‘yes!’. It kind of is like coming home when I’m here.

“In fact, one of the staff said that to me when I arrived: ‘Welcome home, Mr Neeson’. And I just said: ‘Thank you’.”

Also featured in the episode are staff at the Europa getting the hotel ready to host a boxing match and the Miss Northern Ireland beauty pageant in the space of two days.

A host of beauty queens are featured in the episode, including trailblazing amputee Bernadette Hagans from west Belfast and eventual winner, Lisburn teacher Anna Leitch.

Earlier this month viewers were left stunned during episode three of The Hotel People when guests from a wedding caused havoc at the Culloden.

The wedding party descended on the hotel and viewers were told how they had caused disruption across the premises, leaving parts of it wrecked and covered in litter, including cigarette butts. Staff were also shouted at and sworn at.

■ Episode six of The Hotel People is on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday night at 11.10pm

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