A dream to visit Hollywood comes true

For Diarmuid O’Leary, performing is a key to feeling independent. He tells us all about a visit to tinsel town…

  • Travelling and seeing new things can promote confidence and independence
  • Visiting Hollywood was a dream come true for Diarmuid
  • The trip of a lifetime took in film sets, a tour of actors’ homes and Hollywood Boulevard.

I like to travel and I have been to lots of different places around the world. I have travelled to France, Italy, Spain, England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand my family. I also went to Greece in 2011, where I represented Ireland in Men’s Basketball at the World Special Olympic Games. We won a bronze medal. That was a really good trip, one of my favourites! I love going to London too, I’ve been there loads of times and visited theatres at the West End once with my friends at Cada Performing Arts. I like travelling a lot, I like flying and listening to my music and seeing new places and getting to know new people.

When I was growing up, I was always interested in films and DVDs. I like knowing all the actors and the roles they play. I know about directors and I enjoy writing my own scripts. I like horror films and supernatural stuff but I will watch anything. I have always wanted to see Hollywood to see all the cool stuff you see in the movies. In August I went with my Dad, Mum and sister for 12 days. When my parents told me we were going Dad showed me the tickets. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true.

Diarmuid O'Leary at the Hollywood Sign)Diarmuid O’Leary at the Hollywood Sign

I really enjoyed our trip to Hollywood. The Hollywood sign is massive and it was good to see it in real life. I have a photo of the sign as the screensaver on my phone for a few years! We went to see some of the actors’ houses in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We saw the street where Cameron Diaz grew up. We saw some of the stars on the ground in the Hollywood walk of fame. I saw Alec Baldwin and Jason Bateman.

When we were walking along, we saw a real live film set. The street was all closed off. There were lots of cars from the 90’s parked by the footpath and a New York Police car. We talked to the crew and they told us they were filming American Crime Story – Season 2: The Versace Murder. It was so cool to see.

Diarmuid O'Leary on a Hollywood Set)Diarmuid O’Leary on a Hollywood Set

We went to visit Universal Studios. My favourite part was the special effects show. They set a man on fire for 19 seconds. They had an astronaut flying. We all laughed and clapped. I loved Harry Potter World too. I tasted butter beer and it was nice. I bought the Elder Wand, Professor Dumbledore’s wand and a Gryffindor tie. We did the studio tour too, it was terrifying we saw sets from Jaws, Jurassic Park, King Kong, Fast and Furious and Earthquake. Jaws jumped up at me and I screamed. The Fast and the Furious bit was my favourite.

Hollywood was really brilliant. I am so glad we went. I would recommend it to everyone!

Diarmuid O’ Leary is 28 years old and lives in Cork with his family. He has 2 brothers and a sister. Diarmuid’s passion is film and performing arts, and he is very involved in Suisha Inclusive Arts in Cork and Cada Performing Arts stage school. There he acts and dances, puts on plays and productions. Some of the participants have disabilities and some of them do not. According to Diarmuid, “When we work together we are all the same. Disability doesn’t matter. Performing makes me feel confident and independent and I really enjoy it a lot.”