Boyle's nod to mom's hometown

Film director Danny Boyle has won worldwide praise for his opening ceremony show last Friday at the London Olympics, even if as one Russian observer claimed it was "incomprehensible to non-Britons."

Le Parisien newspaper said that the opening ceremony was "magnificent, inventive and offbeat drawing heavily on the roots of British identity." However, even many locals were likely to have missed many of its allusions and in jokes. Some Irish viewers spotted a reference to Boyle's own non-British roots. At one point, the constituent parts of the UK were represented with international teams scoring in rugby. Of course, there is no separate Northern Ireland team, and scrambling over the line for a famous Irish score in 1989 was Noel Mannion, who is from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, in the Republic - the hometown of Boyle's mother.

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Boyle, raised in a strict working-class Irish Catholic home in Manchester, was an altar boy who seriously considered being a priest, "his mother's fondest wish." He enrolled in a seminary, but his priest in Manchester, Fr. Conway, took him aside and said: "I don't think you should go."

The film director said last week that he didn't now believe in God, but he believed in people who did.