Maria Doyle Kennedy

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Maria Doyle Kennedy
BornMaria Josephine Doyle
(1964-09-25) 25 September 1964 (age 50)
Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Other namesMaria Doyle
Years active1980s–present (Singer)
1991–present (Actress)
Spouse(s)Kieran Kennedy (1988–present)
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Maria Doyle Kennedy
BornMaria Josephine Doyle
(1964-09-25) 25 September 1964 (age 50)
Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Other namesMaria Doyle
Years active1980s–present (Singer)
1991–present (Actress)
Spouse(s)Kieran Kennedy (1988–present)

Maria Doyle Kennedy (born 25 September 1964) is an Irish actress, composer, singer, songwriter, musician, theatre artist, orchestrator and educator. She is best known for her roles as Queen Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors and Siobhán Sadler in Orphan Black.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Kennedy was born in Clontarf, Dublin. She graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a joint honours degree in political science and business.

Musical career[edit]

In 2001, Kennedy released music on Mermaid Records, a label she founded herself. Her debut solo album Charm was released in 2001. She coordinated Sirens which is a compilation album of female artists and was released in 2003. She released an album Skullcover consisting of cover versions in 2005, and Mütter in 2007. Kennedy's new album with her husband Kieran is called The Storms Are on the Ocean.

Both of her solo albums have been nominated for Meteor awards, and her forthcoming project sees her teamed with US country music legend John Prine, Damien Rice and Paul Brady. Sing was released September 2012 and reached number four on Irish charts.

Musical history[edit]

Kennedy joined a band while still in college in the mid-80s. They formed originally to enter a Slogadh competition (which they won), but music quickly became a motivating force in her life. She has spent the better part of 20 years performing live all over the world to audiences ranging from the many thousands who have enjoyed her show at festivals (Glastonbury, Oxegen, Cambridge Folk Festival etc.) to the more intimate theatre concerts.

Kennedy released her first album "When Justice Came" in 1989 with The Black Velvet Band. Recorded in Los Angeles in 1989, it reached No.4 on the Irish charts, and is ranked among the best Irish albums of the late 1980s.[citation needed] She then united with producers Clive Langer and Allen Winstanley to record her second Black Velvet Band album, "King of Myself", in 1992. Irish music magazine Hot Press later called her "The finest voice this country has ever produced."[citation needed]

The Lady Sings The Blues, a compilation album featuring Maria alongside Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Annie Lennox, followed and proved to be a best-selling album in 1994. It also established Kennedy in new markets throughout Europe, the US, and Japan. Touring Europe for the first time, she got rave reviews from The Guardian, The Times, and others.

Kennedy produced a documentary, Golden Boy, based on the life and work of Irish artist Patrick Scott and has appeared as a broadcaster on Irish television filling in for John Kelly on his Mystery Train show and for Tom Dunne on Pet Sounds.[1]

Kennedy also hosted an RTÉ musical series called Boarderline in the late 1980s.[2]

Acting career[edit]

Maria Doyle Kennedy played a key role in the 1991 film The Commitments. In 2007 and 2008, Maria played Queen Katherine of Aragon (King Henry VIII's first wife and mother of Mary I of England) on The Tudors.[3] She was rumoured to have returned as Katherine of Aragon in a dream sequence to The Tudors for the fourth and final season in mid 2010, and this was confirmed when the first promotional picture of the season showed Katherine (along with King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr) on the cover. Kennedy also appeared on Irish screens early in 2011 on TG4's Corp & Anam in her first Irish language acting role. Kennedy portrayed Sonya, a nanny to Dexter Morgan's son Harrison in the fifth season of Showtime's Dexter.[4] She joined the cast of ITV's period drama Downton Abbey, appearing as Vera Bates, estranged wife of the Earl of Grantham's valet.[5] In 2012 she also played a leading role in the ITV mini-series Titanic, and in 2013 began co-starring in the Canadian TV series Orphan Black, airing on Space in Canada and on BBC America in the United States.[6]

Personal life[edit]

In 1988, she married musician Kieran Kennedy, and they have four sons. Maria speaks fluent Irish and is a regular guest on TG4.


2014Maria LiveMermaid Records
2012SingMermaid Records
2011The Storms Are on the OceanMermaid Records
2009Have Yourself A Merry Little ChristmasMermaid Records
2009Band of Maria's Live DVDMermaid Records
2008Forty daysMermaid Records
2007FuckabilityMermaid Records
2007MütterMermaid Records
2005Skull CoverMermaid Records
2004SirensMermaid Records
2001CharmMermaid Records
2001Stars AboveMermaid Records



1991Commitments, TheThe CommitmentsNatalie Murphy
1995Nothing PersonalAnn
1996Moll FlandersAlice
1997Break, TheThe BreakRoisin
1997MatchMaker, TheThe MatchMakerSarah Kelly
1998General, TheThe GeneralFrances
1999I Could Read in the SkyMaggie
1999Gregory's Two GirlsBel
1999Miss JulieChristine
2001J.J. Biker
2004Spin the BottleAnastasia
2005Tara RoadRosemary
2010(She Owns) Every ThingObject of AffectionShort film
2011Albert NobbsMary
2012After the Triumph of Your BirthSister Roisin
2013A Thousand Times Good Night


1998Father TedPatsyEpisode: "Night of the Nearly Dead"
1999DDU: District Detective UnitEmma PearsonEpisodes: "The Gates of Eden: Part 1", "Unforgiven: Part 2"
1999Oliver TwistIrish Shop AssistantEpisode: "Wherein It Is Shewn How Oliver Twist Came to Be Born in Such Sad Circumstances"
1999Queer as FolkMarie ThreepwoodEpisodes: "1.5", "1.6"
2000Queer as FolkMarie JonesEpisode: "2.1"
2000Fitz, TheThe FitzRitaEpisode: "Dirty Book Deal"
2002No TearsKitty FogartyTV miniseries
2002Home for ChristmasCora QuirkeTV film
2003Thursday the 12thNina BannisterTV film
2006Hide & SeekEmma HoldenRecurring role (4 episodes)
2006SortedRoisinRecurring role (6 episodes)
2007–2010Tudors, TheThe TudorsQueen Catherine of AragonMain role (18 episodes)
2010DexterSonyaRecurring role (8 episodes)
2011Corp & AnamMairéad Mhic IarnáinRecurring role (4 episodes)
2011Downton AbbeyVera BatesEpisodes (3 episodes)
2012TitanicMuriel BatleyTV miniseries
2013–Orphan BlackMrs. S / Siobhán SadlerRegular role (20 episodes)

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Maria Doyle Kennedy at The Headline Agency
  2. ^ "Boarderline". RTÉ News. 
  3. ^ Maria Doyle Kennedy Joins 'Dexter' Season
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (10 June 2010). "Maria Doyle Kennedy Joins 'Dexter' Season". Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Blackburn, Jen (23 September 2011). "I love playing the most hated woman in Britain". The Sun (London). Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Ross, Dalton. "'Orphan Black': Maria Doyle Kennedy talks about the mysterious past of Mrs. S". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 

External links[edit]