THE MAYOR of Limerick has extended his best wishes and on behalf of the city to Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga, who is one of five actresses shortlisted for an Oscar on Sunday night.
Irrespective of whether she takes home the gold statuette, Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon said that he will be inviting the Oscar nominee and her family to a mayoral reception in her honour before the end of the summer.
It is the first time a Limerick raised actress has touched the peak of Hollywood stardom since Richard Harris was nominated for an Oscar in 1990 for The Field.
While he missed out on claiming an Oscar twice - having also been nominated in 1963 for This Sporting Life - a 'hellraising' cocktail was even created in his honour in Charlie St George's pub on Parnell Street, one of his favoured watering holes in the city.
Ruth, the 35 year-old star of Loving was honoured at the Oscar Wilde awards in Santa Monica on Thursday night, where other feted honorees including Caitriona Balfe, Martin Short, Zachary Quinto, and Glen Hansard.
Trina Vargo, president and founder of the Alliance, said they were "thrilled" to honour Ruth, saying the "brilliance of her performance lies in the nuances".
On Sunday night, Ruth's extended family in Dooradoyle and London will be watching the ceremony with anticipation.
Uncle Ger Malone said all the family are proud and delighted with her success, saying they always recognised their 'star' in the family.
“She’s a hard worker, very committed and deserves every success. She was always a great little actress growing up," he said.
Among her cousins in Limerick is Peter Malone, son of Ger, who has played rugby with Bruff, St Munchin's, Garryowen, Munster, and who is now Munster Rugby's elite player development manager.
Her cousin Dave Malone has regularly accompanied her to many red carpet ceremonies, including the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globe awards. But on this occasion it is believed that her boyfriend Dominic Cooper will be by her side.
Her fellow nominees on Sunday night are Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Emma Stone (La La Land), and Isabelle Huppert (Elle).
"The whole of Limerick is rooting for her on Sunday night," Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon told the Limerick Leader.
"Of course, we wish her every success. She's one of our own, and I would certainly love to invite her to Limerick to attend a mayoral reception in her honour, for her and her family, before my term as mayor ends."
Loving tells the true story of an illegal inter-racial marriage in 1950s Virginia, with the couple battling before the Supreme Court in 1967 for their right to live together as husband and wife.
She went to national school in Roxborough, and later spent part of her secondary school at Scoil Carmel on O’Connell Avenue, before moving to London and completing her drama studies at Trinity College Dublin.