Andrea Irvine: Balancing Acting, Family, and Advocacy

Andrea reveals how she juggles acting, motherhood, and private time, simultaneously.

By RahulPublished on: May 14, 2024 Updated on: June 18, 2024
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Andrea Irvine is the type of actress who balances a vibrant career with a busy family life in Dublin. Her journey is all about resilience, dedication, and a deep love for acting.

Growing up amid sectarian violence and political unrest, Andrea’s childhood in Belfast during the Troubles was intense. She was born into a Methodist family, although her parents never went to church.

At the age of 15, she found God and for a short while served as a Sunday school teacher. But by 17, typical adolescent adventures led her away from strict religious practices.

From University to the Theatre Stage and Breakthrough

She studied high school at Princess Gardens School and for college went to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Andrea in a potrait
Source: Amelia Stein

Her passion for acting took root during her university years in Scotland. After honing her skills, Andrea returned to Ireland and quickly made a name for herself in the Dublin theatre scene.

Her performances in plays like The Crucible and Dancing at Lughnasa earned her critical acclaim and a loyal following.

Andrea’s role as Garda Sergeant Angela Tyrell in Red Rock was a career-defining moment. The character’s challenges and triumphs resonated with her, making the role particularly meaningful.

“Angela Tyrell is having a very hard time, so there have been quite a few tears shed on the set. I’m saving it all for work at the moment,” she said to TheIrishExaminer.

She Received Critical Acclaim For Her Role In Blue Lights and Baltimore

In the film Baltimore, she portrays Lady Beit. The film explores the story of Rose Dugdale and her involvement with the IRA, requiring Andrea to engage with a complex historical context deeply.

Additionally, Andrea starred as Nicola Robinson in the BBC series Blue Lights, which depicts challenges faced by rookie police officers in Belfast. This series has been well-received, and to be fair her performance is a significant part of its success.

In 2023, Andrea performed in Agreement, a play about the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal. She portrayed Mo Mowlam, a role that has been both challenging and rewarding. She said,

Initially, it was daunting to play Mo, an iconic person in Northern Ireland but also a real person still within living memory. Despite that, it has been one of the best jobs of my life.

The play has received critical acclaim and highlighted Irvine’s ability to tackle complex, real-life characters.

She Admits Being a Mother Is A Demanding Job

Despite her demanding schedule, Andrea remains deeply committed to her family. She often finds herself juggling school runs, extracurricular activities, and the demands of her profession.

Andrea wearing a yellow top and her son
Andrea with her son.

Raising her boys, Joseph, 22, and Harry, 20, who are both adults now, while maintaining a career in the arts requires a delicate balance.

“It’s not the same as with very young children, but there’s still a lot of running around. It’s demanding, you just communicate. It does, miraculously, all happen,” she told Irish Examiner in 2016.

Andrea’s husband, Patrick Leech, provides a solid support system, managing the household’s busy dynamics alongside their dog, Ed, who adds to the lively atmosphere.

Andrea and her Partner’s Relationship Is Built on Shared Admiration

Irvine and Leech’s love story began on the set of Whispers, a Rough magic play. It was Patrick who first took notice. He had admired her from afar before they formally met.

In a 2002 interview with the Irish Independent, he admitted, “I was mad about her. Not quite a crush, but I really fancied her. And she didn’t know I existed,” something which Andrea confirmed.

It wasn’t until halfway through the play’s nationwide tour that she really noticed him. “I was very insistent, I think, in my chasing of her,” Patrick insists. Andrea singles out a moment on a Sligo beach as the first time she noticed a spark. “Ah,” says Patrick, “the chasing was more subtle than I thought.”

Since they first worked together on Whispers, they’ve only teamed up one more time and really enjoyed it despite the challenges. Long stretches without work have tested their relationship, but they’ve managed by being honest and keeping a sense of humor.

They really admire each other and understand the unique pressures of their acting careers. As actors, they totally get the highs and lows that come with the job. Patrick once said it’s great not having to explain acting stuff to each other, even though they both know it’s tough.

When Andrea took jobs far away, like in New York and Belfast, it was tough on their relationship. They handled the stress of long-distance calls, but Patrick’s visits made it better. When Andrea came back to Dublin, Patrick moved in, and soon after, they found out they were expecting their first child, which was a happy surprise.

Her Husband Is an Actor Turned White Collar Worker

Patrick was an actor before he turned to corporate jobs. As an actor, he notably appeared in the action-adventure film King Arthur (2004), as well as the TV shows Ballykissangel (1996-2001), and The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997-1999). He also had roles in The Ambassador (1998-1999) and the film The Escapist (2002).

Andrea Irvine, Patrick Leech
Andrea with her partner in crime, Patrick, and son.

Before this, he was working in IT in his native Drogheda. After quitting acting in 2004 he currently, works at LinkedIn Talent Solutions as their FP&A Manager (EMEA) based in County Dublin, Ireland. He has been working at the organization since 2017.

She Follows the Motto, ‘Stay Healthy, Live Happily’

For Andrea, health and fitness are important. She enjoys running and aims to increase her distance whenever possible.

I’m in reasonably good shape but could be better. I run about twice a week, 7km each time. When we stop filming, I’ll push myself to get up to 10 or 11k.

Her commitment to a healthy lifestyle extends to her diet, starting her day with nutritious smoothies made using Nutribullet. Despite her focus on health, the 56 year-old actress has a sweet tooth and enjoys indulging in a slice of cake in the afternoon.

She Finds Joys In Simple Things

Relaxation for Andrea comes in the form of simple, everyday pleasures. She loves taking her pet dog for walks in Phoenix Park, her favorite spot in Dublin. These walks provide a refreshing escape from her hectic schedule and allow her to enjoy some quiet time.

Andrea Irvine Advocates for Women’s Rights

She is also passionate about social issues, particularly women’s rights. She has been a vocal advocate for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in Ireland, pushing for progress and equality.

“The repeal of the eighth amendment would be a big welcome to the 21st century for Ireland and women’s rights,” she asserts, reflecting her commitment to social justice.

About Author: Rahul

Rahul has been diving into the world of entertainment in niches like celebrity, anime, and health articles since 2016. As a passionate writer, he combines personal experiences with thorough research to create content that's not only informative but also relatable and engaging.