Comedian Dara Ó Briain has revealed that he has recently been searching for his biological mother.
The 48-year-old spoke publicly for the first time about his discovery of being an adopted child at a young age Wednesday night, at an event at The Irish Times Winter Nights.
Ó Briain commented on an online event about how he had enjoyed a wonderful childhood in Bray with his “supportive” parents.
Dara’s Birth Mother
But after being inspired by the film Philomena followed her birth mother, who told her that her discovery was “built on shame”.
“I talked to my birth mother about it today, and I said, ‘Look, did you want this?’ and she said, ‘There was no choice in this,’ said Mock the Week host.
“The whole thing was built on shame and expediency and a feeling of, just get this done.”
Adoption And The New Family
The comedian and broadcaster emphasized that he came from a “unbelievably content family background”, and that his family was happy to discuss his adoption, but that the issue did not arise very often.
“Being adopted is a state of knowing you’re adopted, then it not being mentioned for ages,” he explained. “And then at a point in later life going, ‘Hang on, am I adopted?’
“I remember my father coming to London for lunch, and we had one of those conversations where you just clear the decks on everything. I told him, ‘I seem to remember knowing this’, and he said, ‘Yeah, but it’s not a secret. I quit telling you because, you know, why would you keep saying it?’
Inspiration To Search For His Biological Mom
It was only after seeing Oscar-nominated Philomena – casting the great Dame Judi Dench as Irish woman Phililomena Lee began a campaign to find her adopted son, with the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith, starring Steve Coogan – when Briain decided to start his own search.
“Maybe [my birth mother] might want to know how it turned out,” he added. “And maybe it’s our responsibility to go, ‘That worked out … I did end up in a stable home, and you should be grand about that’.”
He has now met his birth mother and various biological siblings, but is yet to meet the whole family due to the pandemic restrictions.
While the process of tracking down her biological mother was not too bad, the TV comedian said its entire operation was unnecessarily difficult.
Under Irish law, the rights of the mother to privacy override the rights of the adopted child to find out who they are.
During the interview, Briain suggested the pages of the adoption files, which had the word “redacted” on them.
He ultimately sourced his own birth certificate, which he admitted was a nerve-wracking moment.
“I wanted to find a quiet moment to open this document. I remember finding it and reading it for the first time. It’s an elemental piece of paper. It’s a huge document to get in your hand,” he continued.
“I wasn’t crying or anything like that, but it was still… that this other person is me.”