Forty Foot | 

Paul Mescal and Emily Watson on red carpet in Dublin as actress reveals passion for sea swimming in Ireland

The Bafta-winning actress, who plays Mescal’s mother in his latest film God’s Creatures, revealed she took a plunge at one of Dublin’s most famous sea swimming spots

Emily Watson with Paul Mescal arriving for God’s Creatures, kicking off the Dublin International Film Festival at the Light House Cinema in Dublin. Photo: Collins

Emily Watson and Paul Mescal


British actress Emily Watson has revealed shooting a movie in Ireland with Paul Mescal left her with a love of sea swimming.

The Bafta-winning actress, who plays Mescal’s mother in his latest film God’s Creatures, revealed she took a plunge at one of Dublin’s most famous sea swimming spots, as she and Mescal delighted fans on the red carpet tonight.

“I’ve been swimming at the Forty Foot. I nearly had a heart attack,” she joked as she spoke to fans at Dublin’s Lighthouse Cinema tonight for the film’s Irish premiere, which kicked off the Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF).

The film, which is set in a Co Kerry fishing village, but was actually filmed on location in Teelin, Killybegs and Kilcar in Co Donegal, had the cast donning wetsuits and carrying hot water bottles in the spring of 2021 for scenes set in frigid waters off the northwest coast.

“It was proper cold,” said Watson.

But she also took the plunge again at the famous south Dublin swimming place for a lark.

But unlike Matt Damon, who was famously photographed swimming at the Vico Baths in Killiney when he was living in Dublin during the start of the pandemic in 2020, she’s not sure whether anyone noticed who she was.

“I just kept my head down,” she told

However, Ms Watson, who is from London, said she was no stranger to our inclement weather, and felt very much at home here.

“I’m used to the weather here. I love it here. I love the feeling that it’s pretty much everybody is creative and everybody can sing, everybody can dance. It just feels like you’re in a very potent place when you’re here,” shje said.

She also said she was “chuffed” to be awarded the DIFF’s lifetime achievement award – the Volta – and joins fellow recipients Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis, Kristin Scott Thomas, Martin Sheen and Julie Andrews, who have also received what is regarded as “one of the highest accolades in Irish film”.

“I feel very chuffed and particularly as an English actress who’s played a lot of Irish roles, that’s a privilege and you have to treat it with respect. And it’s very nice to be recognised for it,” she said.

Watson said Mescal was a delight to work with and described him as “clearly insanely talented, very inquiring and really, really wanting to learn”.

"He brought something new and exciting every day and wanting to be the best actor he could be. It was a real privilege to play his Mmum,” she said.

Mescal posed for selfies with fans and also praised the Irish film industry.

He said how well cinema in Ireland is doing internationally at the moment is “really, really exciting”.

“It’s very difficult to put into words or in a sentence,” he said.

Asked if Ireland was ‘having a moment’ in cinema, he said: “The thing I worry about saying ‘having a moment’ is that it feels temporary, and I would just love this to be just the way that we naturally operate as a country, because we’ve got the writers, we've got the directors we’ve got the actors.”

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