Saoirse Ronan teaches America how to pronounce her name on Saturday Night Live

The 23-year-old actor and U2 made the latest episode a very Irish affair

It was something of an Irish extravaganza on Saturday Night Live last night as actress Saoirse Ronan and rock band U2 took centre stage on the hit late-night TV show.

After the customary Alex Baldwin sketch of Donald Trump opened the show, Saoirse Ronan assumed the mantle as the guest host, bouncing onto the stage, hair swept back and looking stunning in a funky bronze metallic dress.

She began - inevitably - with a setpiece on her name, working up a jingle to explain the pronunciation to the programme’s seven million viewers, as the words SAOIRSE flashed across the screen. With that, the usual SNL fun began, as the show moved from sketch to sketch, with Ronan popping up in cameo roles. From a 1980s office spoof to a bachelor auction starring John McEnroe, the 23 year-old’s brief appearances reminded the audience - if there was any need - of her effortless acting talents.

Ronan was not the only Irish celebrity to feature on the top-rating late-night show - she introduced U2 for two performances. The band powered through two singles -‘American Soul’ and ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’ - from their new album Songs of Experience.


Though Bono and the band stuck to the music and resisted any urge to go off script, their performance was politically charged, with Bono taking up a megaphone emblazoned with the star-spangled banner at several points.

The female cast members of Saturday Night Live also took to song during Saturday night’s episode to sing about the range of ways women face sexual harassment in their daily lives. In a musical sketch which also featured Ronan they sang:

“House of Cards is ruined, and that really sucks, well here’s a list of stuff that’s ruined for us,” Ronan added before the group listed off such things like parking, vans, hotels and Ubers.

“Welcome to hell, this isn’t news,” the group sang. “Yeah it ain’t fair, pull up a chair, welcome to hell.”

The best Irish moment however was an Aer Lingus sketch, with Saoirse delivering a Mrs Doyle-inspired performance of an Aer Lingus air hostess, complete with bottle-green blazer.

The sketch embraced a number of Irish-themed quips including a potato joke, a reference to Oscar Wilde, and a sexual innuendo that will leave Aer Lingus's PR team blushing.

Despite their best efforts, the SNL cast continued the unrivalled tradition of US actors failing abysmally at replicating the Irish brogue, as their attempt at Irish accents brought back uncomfortable memories of ‘Far and Away’.

Speaking of accents, anyone who was wondering if Saoirse had tempered her accent after an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show last year sparked a national debate about whether she was feigning a Dublin accent, got their answer. Yes, the Dublin accent was still there. But who cares? Ronan's guest appearance as a host on one of the top-rated shows in the United States is a measure of her enormous standing in the United States, with expectations that she is heading for her third Oscar nomination for the film 'Lady Bird'.

As with U2, Ronan is becoming an established household name in the United States, and one of Ireland's most recognisable faces. As talented artists at the top of their game, their role as cultural ambassadors - and the face of Ireland in America - is as powerful as ever.