Saoirse Ronan defends controversial ‘SNL’ Aer Lingus sketch

The actor was criticised for promoting Irish stereotypes in the sketch

Saoirse Ronan has defended the SNL sketch that saw her and the show’s cast members send up Irish airline Aer Lingus.

The actor, who is the star of Greta Gerwig‘s new film Lady Bird, was the guest host on the US comedy show last weekend (December 2), alongside musical guests U2.

The sketch in question, however, saw her appearance criticised for “promoting Irish stereotypes”. Musician James Vincent McMorrow tweeted at the time: “We get it, Irish people like dogs and poetry and potatoes and our accents are funny. Classic.”

Ronan appeared on RTÉ One’s The Late Late Show in her home country, where she addressed the controversy. “It was fun and the show is a comedy show,” she said. “It was a dream come true for me to go on. It’s a huge thing for someone to get to do something like that. It was amazing.”

She continued to explain that she pushed SNL creator Lorne Michaels to let her represent Ireland on the show. “Whenever he would ask me what do I want or what do I feel strongly about, I would always say, ‘I really want to use my own accent as much as possible, and I want there to be at least one Irish sketch in there,'” she said.

Asked by The Late Late Show‘s host Ryan Tubridy if she was anti-Aer Lingus, Ronan responded: “I am not anti-Aer Lingus! I collect my points on Aer Lingus. That’s how often I fly Aer Lingus.”

Meanwhile, Ronan’s SNL appearance also saw her perform a song to help people pronounce her name.

In her opening monologue, Ronan joked: “It is so great to be here hosting the St Patrick’s Day episode of Saturday Night Live – just a few months early!”

She continued: “Yes, I am very Irish and I have an extremely Irish name – some would say too Irish. It’s Saoirse. It means freedom. But, you see, I have a little problem. It’s spelled… well, it’s spelled wrong. It’s a full typo.”