Northern Ireland

Ciaran Hinds and Roma Downey receive honorary degrees

Ciaran Hinds
Image caption Ciaran Hinds received his honorary doctorate from Queen's University

Two film stars have received honorary degrees from universities in Northern Ireland on Monday.

Belfast man Ciaran Hinds received a degree from Queen's University in his home city for services to film and drama.

Roma Downey, from Londonderry, was honoured by the University of Ulster, of which she is an alumna.

She received a Doctorate of Fine Art (DFA) for her contribution to acting and philanthropy.

The university also gave honorary degrees to author and former BBC correspondent Fergal Keane and screenwriter Frank Cotrell-Boyce.

Ciaran Hinds has appeared in a number of major films, including Road to Perdition, Munich and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two.

He also voiced the Troll King in Frozen, appears as Mance Rayder in hit HBO drama Game of Thrones and was Julius Caesar in the series Rome.

Image caption Roma Downey received her degree from the University of Ulster

Speaking after the ceremony, he said: "It is not something I usually go for in my life, but it is such an honour and a privilege to be considered for a doctorate.

"My father was a doctor and I was never going to follow in his footsteps because I am not very good with blood, but here I am."

Hinds studied at Queen's 40 years ago and left to become an actor.

"I'm the slowest graduate in Christendom but it was lovely to see all the graduates," he said.

Roma Downey recently starred as Mary in the film Son of God, and has appeared in a number of TV series, including Touched by an Angel and The Division.

Talking about the honorary degree, she said: "It is very special, my entire family will be showing up. I am delighted and thrilled.

"It is so nice to be home, I have come back regularly over the last 25 years - I reside in Los Angeles, but I love coming home, it is like coming back to the well, I feel it is restorative and regenerative."

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