The COVID-19 crisis left a lot of people stressed and stranded on the wrong side of a border because they got a craving for authentic Chianti at the worst possible time, but if you're ridiculously wealthy enough, you can just hunker down and wait things out in foreign luxury. Such was the case for Matt Damon, who was staying in the Irish city of Dalkey with his wife and children to film a movie when production was shut down and lockdown declared. Ever since, the people of Dalkey have been treating him like a talking dog, and he's been reacting about the same.
Dalkey might be a scenic seaside village, but it's only about 10 miles from Dublin in a region that's home to some of Ireland's biggest celebrities, like Bono, Enya, and ... Bono. In fact, Damon has said, his new neighbors frequently point out these residences to him, as if to say, "Look! It's your people!" It seems strange, then, that they would go, so nuts over a "leaked" photograph of him carrying a plastic grocery bag from a local supermarket like an average human. After posing for the photo for a fan who promised to keep it private but couldn't resist sending it to her whole family, one or more of whom shared it online, residents speculated obsessively on local social media about what he might be carrying. Food? Beer? Togs, whatever those are? The answer was revealed in an interview with a starstruck local DJ to be "swimming gear and towels," and dozens of amateur digital forensics technicians presumably slammed their laptops shut in disappointment.
But they've also been adorably protective of their new community member. When a New York Times reporter approached those same social media pages looking for a lead, they answered as sarcastically -- and Irishly -- as possible. "I heard he's moved to the east pier. He's pitching a tent at the end of it, but if this lockdown continues, he won't need a tent -- he can borrow me knickers; they be big enough for a circus," one woman colorfully put it. And Damon is basking in it all: In the same radio interview, he gushed about his "fairytale" surroundings and maternally smothering neighbors. More reclusive celebrities might be put off by the attention, but even after 20-plus years in the spotlight, he's just thrilled that everyone is being so nice to him. He's even made friends with Bono, so hopefully, that's a weird-ass collaboration we have to look forward to.
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Top image: Flickr/Siebbi