What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than to show some love to our favorite Irish Star Trek character, Miles O'Brien. The beloved engineer evolved from a minor character with no name when introduced on The Next Generation, to become a regular, major character on Deep Space Nine. As he rose in prominence, rank and screen time, the character found his niche as Trek's 'everyman'.
The man who played him, Colm Meaney, followed a very similar path. Born in Ireland, he worked his way up in Hollywood from small parts, including his role on TNG, to supporting and leading man roles. During the run of DS9, he squeezed in numerous film and television appearances and to this day he remains one of the busiest character actors around. Here's what you should know about everyone's favorite everyman engineer, and the man who brought him to life:
- Miles O'Brien was born in Killarney, Ireland in September 2328.
- Colm Meaney was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 30, 1953
- O'Brien's ancestors included Brian Boru, an 11th century Irish king who was the founder of the O'Brien dynasty, and Sean Aloysius O'Brien, a coal miner and union activist on Earth in the 19th century.
- Meaney's ex-wife, Irish actress Bairbre Dowling, guest starred in the Voyager episode "Spirit Folk" in 2000.
- A teenaged O'Brien enrolled in Starfleet against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to study at the Aldeberan Music Academy and become a concert cellist. He later played cello with a string quartet aboard the Enterprise.
- Meaney ultimately played O'Brien across 14 seasons of Trek, 7 each of TNG and DS9.
- O'Brien wasn't given the first name Miles until the episode "Family," during season four of TNG.
- Meaney, as O'Brien, played the only Trek character to appear in two series premieres ("Encounter at Farpoint" and "Emissary") and also two series finales ("All Good Things..." and "What You Leave Behind")
- As a child, O'Brien feared spiders. As an adult, he owned a pet tarantula named Christina that he'd found on Titus IV.
- Discussing O'Brien's evolution with StarTrek.com in 2014, Meaney said, "Initially it was just the pilot, and then there’d be some episodes I was in and some I wasn’t. They just kept calling me back. I can’t even remember, honestly, if it was supposed to be a one-off or recurring. I was just happy for the work. The character got a name, eventually, and then we saw a little more of him, and then they asked me to do DS9... I was [then] very satisfied with his evolution [on DS9]. I got to do a lot of cool things and, between the scenes with Sid [Alexander Siddig] and Rosalind [Chao], you really got to know him. Add to that the normal day-to-day stuff of being part of the crew on the station, and he was a busy guy."
- If O'Brien had a catchphrase it was... "Bloody hell!"
- Meaney's upcoming projects include FOX Searchlight's Tolkien, a biopic of the famed The Lord of the Rings author, 1950s drama The Banker, and upcoming British period drama The Singapore Grip.
Happy St. Patrick's Day from StarTrek.com!