Celeb stories

Lee Mack discovers he followed in his ancestor’s footsteps as he learns about his heritage

British comedy star Lee Mack was moved to discover there was more to the story of his ancestor than he had realised.

The funnyman featured on BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? and learned about his family history on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Mack grew up in the north of England but has Irish ancestry.

He also married a woman with Irish roots, and has never been shy about poking fun at his ancestors, particularly when it comes to the spelling of their names.

The Would I Lie To You? star wrote and performed a hilarious routine about Irish name.

He began by talking about how he and his wife came to naming their children. With Irish heritage on both sides of the family, they were keen to using an Irish name for their kids.

However, as Mack comically points out, many traditional Irish names come with their own spelling warnings.

He described a story about meeting a lady named Siobhan and trying to spell her name.

His energy and confusion are hilarious as the routine plays out, and the video has been a long-time favourite on YouTube. The several comments below include messages from people who have encountered similar problems when telling people their traditional Irish names such as Éilís, Pádraig and Oisin.

Given his pride at his Irish heritage, Mack was eager to learn more about his ancestry when invited to be a guest on Who Do You Think You Are?

Mack revealed he knew little about his Irish ancestors. He had heard that his great-grandmother Delia had deserted her son Joe when he was a child.

This had always led Mack to believe that Delia must have been a cold-hearted woman.

However, the more he learned about the story of Delia and her circumstances, the more Mack softened his stance of his great-grandmother.

The video also shows Mack learning about the career of his great-grandfather William McKillop.

He too, was a comedian and also shortened his stagename to Mack.

The episode highlights the importance of discovering as much as you can about each individual in your family tree.

The more you know about the circumstances and decisions they had to make, the more they will come to life as characters with personality traits, rather than just names on a page.

Take a look at the video below.

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