Derry Girls creator reveals cast for new Belfast-set comedy thriller

Hot on the heels of her Bafta-winning comedy Derry Girls, writer Lisa McGee is back with a new, Belfast-set series boasting a brilliant range of Irish talent.

The new comedy thriller, How to Get to Heaven from Belfast, stars Roísín Gallagher (The Dry), Sinéad Keenan (Unforgotten), and Caoilfhionn Dunne (Industry) as three childhood friends, now in their late thirties, who come together over news of a fourth friend’s death.

In the show, which has started production in Northern Ireland, the trio of pals end up on a “dark, dangerous and hilarious odyssey through Ireland and beyond as they try to piece together the truth of the past”.

McGee said: “I couldn’t be more excited to start production on How to Get to Heaven from Belfast.

“I’ve loved writing Saoirse, Robyn and Dara – three flawed, funny women who are about to embark on the most thrilling and terrifying adventure of their lives.

“A mystery full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing and make you laugh out loud. Let’s go girls!”

Roísín Gallagher, Sinéad Keenan and Caoilfhionn Dunne (Supplied)
Roísín Gallagher, Sinéad Keenan and Caoilfhionn Dunne (Supplied)

Derry Girls followed a group of teenagers navigating growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Its final season won two Baftas and an Emmy in 2023, and drew star power with cameos from Chelsea Clinton to Liam Neeson. Hollywood greats such as Martin Scorsese pronounced themselves as fans.

Lisa McGee (Netflix)
Lisa McGee (Netflix)

The show, which became the most-watched series in Northern Ireland since records began, launched the careers of its young cast, including Nicola Coughlan (who has gone on to star in Bridgerton and Big Mood), Dylan Llewellyn (Big Boys), and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Screw).

In an interview with The Independent in 2023, O’Donnell said that life without Derry Girls is “definitely sad, but it went out on such a high that the thought of doing another one, like right away, I don’t know what it would do to the memory of it”.

She said she wants to work with “fricking genius” McGee again, saying she would read the phonebook if she asked her to.

Last month, Coughlan said she wouldn’t want to go back to Derry Girls and make more of it, as she doesn’t want to “taint” it. She said she believes the show was wrapped up in a “perfect package”.