(born 8 October 1965
) is an Irish comedian
, best known for his roles in television sitcoms
as Father Dougal McGuire
in Father Ted
and George Sunday in My Hero
O'Hanlon was born in 1965 at Carrickmacross
, County Monaghan
, the son of Rory O'Hanlon
, an Irish politician and doctor, and has five siblings. RTÉ's Who do you think you are?
program on Monday 6 October 2008 examined Ardal's family tree. He discovered that his paternal grandfather, Michael O'Hanlon, a UCD
medicine student, had joined the Irish Republican Army
during the Irish War of Independence
and was a member of Michael Collins
's squad which assassinated British secret service agents on the morning of Bloody Sunday (1920)
. Details of his grandfather's activities survive in UCD
Archives, as well as Blackrock College
. It also transpired that on his mother's side he was a close relation of Peter Fenelon Collier
, the founder of Collier's Weekly
and Collier's Encyclopedia
O'Hanlon was schooled in Blackrock College
in Dublin and graduated, in 1987, from the National Institute for Higher Education
(now Dublin City University
) with a degree in Communications Studies.
O'Hanlon first found fame as a stand-up comedian
, winning the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year
competition in 1994. For a period he was the presenter of The Stand Up Show
He was spotted by Graham Linehan, who was to cast him as Father Dougal Maguire in Father Ted, which ran between 1995 and 1998. In 1995, he appeared (as Father Dougal) in a Channel 4 ident ("Hello, you're watching.... television"), and during Comic Relief on BBC1. This was followed by the more serious Big Bad World and the award winning short comedy film Flying Saucer Rock'n'Roll.
He was in an episode of the UK version of "Whose Line is it Anyway?".
In 2000, O'Hanlon starred in the comedy series My Hero, in which he played a very naive superhero from the planet Ultron. His character juggled world-saving heroics with life in suburbia. He stayed in the role until early 2005 and was replaced by James Dreyfus for series 6 in 2006.
He also provided the voice of the lead character in two Christmas television cartoon specials of Robbie the Reindeer. He appeared in the 2005 BBC One sitcom Blessed, written by Ben Elton; at the 2005 British Comedy Awards, it was publicly slated by Jonathan Ross, albeit in jest. Towards the end of 2005, he played an eccentric Scottish character, Coconut Tam, in the family-based film, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby.
He later appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Gridlock", broadcast on April 14 2007, in which he played a feline alien named Thomas Kincade Brannigan.
He was the host of So You Want To Be Taoiseach? on RTÉ One. It was a political show in which he gave advice to follow if you wanted to be Taoiseach, (the Prime Minister of Ireland).
He also played a minor role in The Butcher Boy as Joe's (Francie's best friend) father.
O'Hanlon has written a novel, The Talk of the Town (known in the United States as Knick Knack Paddy Whack), which was published in 1998. The novel is about a teenage boy, Patrick Scully, and his friends.
O'Hanlon is married to Melanie, whom he met as a teenager, and with whom he has three children. He is a fan of Celtic Football Club.