Weekend Q&A: Hilary Rose from The Young Offenders on Cork, Dj-ing and Mairead minus the boys

Hilary Rose (41) is an actor best known for her portrayal of Mairead MacSweeney, Conor's mother, in the BBC hit series The Young Offenders

Actor Hilary Rose who plays put-upon mum Mairead in The Young Offenders. Picture by Miki Barlok
Actor Hilary Rose who plays put-upon mum Mairead in The Young Offenders. Picture by Miki Barlok

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I think Mairead's favourite weekend would be without the boys in the place. She'd close the doors and get a bottle of wine. For Hilary, the perfect weekend is if I can swim in the sea or walk in the woods. As long as I'm outside, connecting with nature, I relax. With two small kids – Jake (four and a half) and Olivia (one and a half) I haven't had the time to read for ages. I pick up a book at seven or eight in the evening when they're in bed and fall asleep. It's fast paced with them.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up in Cork city. When younger, I would horse ride all the time and my parents used to joke that I should marry a farmer as I was such a country girl. When I was older, living in the city, I spent a lot of time in nightclubs. In fact, I became a DJ at 17, something I did for 19 years. My name was DJ Her, using the initials of my names, Hilary Evelyn Rose. I played hip hop. Liking nature now, I have come full circle.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I don't really know. I'm probably a Friday night person as it's all ahead of you. Mind you, I tend to peak too soon on Friday night. During lockdown, because we (Hilary and husband, Peter Foott, who created The Young Offenders) weren't going out on Friday nights, we went to get the gourmet takeaways from The Cinnamon Cottage in Cork and a very nice bottle of organic wine. We've been trying to keep our food as clean as possible even if we're treating ourselves. I've started a blog,, about living wild and free in the locked-down world.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

John Creedon's Friday evening show on RTÉ Radio. Weirdly, he used to be my neighbour. He has incredible taste in worldwide music and finds the most obscure remixes of things.

Must-watch weekend TV show/box set?

We really enjoy Westworld and Temple with Mark Strong, both on Sky. Also Big Little Lies with Nicole Kidman. We watch really different stuff to what we produce. Would we be watching The Young Offenders if we weren't involved? Yes, it's hard not to watch and everybody seems to have been tuning in on Friday night, which doesn't always happen. The feedback's been good, from 15-year-olds up to grandparents.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

I don't really do takeaways. There's a restaurant we like, The Hayfield Manor, that we went to for my birthday yesterday. I am vegetarian and had sliced, marinated celeriac with wild rice followed by butternut squash with lentils. It was amazing.

Is Sunday still special?

For us, it's a day spent preparing for the next week. It's not relaxing, there's a lot of preparation.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

It is a bit of that 'Have I done my homework?' feeling. You spend a lot of the week looking forward to the weekend. But we go to bed really early on Sunday night, maybe half eight or nine o'clock, to get ready for Monday. It's ridiculously sensible.

:: The Young Offenders is on BBC One and RTÉ One, Friday nights and is available on the BBC iPlayer.