One day you’re practicing karate, and the next you’re on fire, jumping out of a boat.
That’s the work schedule of Niamh Hogan, one of the “relatively few” stuntwomen in Ireland.
“I'm not completely bonkers – there is a fear part of my brain that will kick in,” she told Moncrieff.
Ms Hogan was studying drama and film, with her eyes set on traditional acting, when one teacher told her she was “quite a good mover”.
“I started karate when I was five years old and that was part of my daily life,” she said.
“It was like a bubble went off in my brain – fighting and acting together.”
Ms Hogan has performed stunts in Vikings: Valhalla, was Florence Pugh's stunt double in The Wonder and is due to play Kerry Condon’s stunt double in The Land of Saints and Sinners.
While a lot of stunts call for her karate background, others required further training.
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“The first time I went on fire I went to do a fire course – but I didn’t tell my mother what I was doing,” Ms Hogan said.
“After the weekend, I sent the videos of me on fire like, ‘this is what I was actually doing’.
“[She said], ‘Wait til you get home... You have may survived the fire, but I will kill you’.”
Ms Hogan’s family is proud of her work as a stuntwoman, but she finds it easier sometimes to tell “little white lies” to keep her mother’s stress levels down.
For example, Ms Hogan said there were some problems when she was lit on fire for Vikings: Valhalla.
“I was doing a full body burn on a boat... the whole point is we jump off the boat into the water, and my count was 12,” she said.
“[But] I stepped up onto the box, I slipped and fell back into the boat – my safety [person] started putting me out, but she realised I was just getting back up.”
She explained stunt performers are covered in “freezing cold” gel and layers soaked in cold water when being lit on fire.
“You have more risk of getting hypothermia,” she said.
Ms Hogan said her job as a stuntwoman has pushed her to new heights – especially when she had to get over her fear of heights.
“There are pictures of me doing my first abseil in Dalkey and I was petrified,” she said.
“It’s constantly finding that comfort zone line and pushing it further and further.”
Main image: Split screen of Niamh Hogan performing stunts with a sword and on fire in a boat for Vikings: Valhalla. Images via Niamh Hogan.