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Dubliner who took the famous Matt Damon photo reveals how it came about

By James Fenton

May 14, 2020 at 12:21pm

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That Matt Damon photo has pretty much been seen by everyone in the country at this stage and we now know the story of its origin.

You know the one. Matt Damon going for a dip in the sea in Dalkey, holding a SuperValu bag in his hand with a couple of starstruck kids nearby. While many joked that the Hollywood star was carrying a big bag of cans, he explained in an interview with Spin 1038 yesterday that it was in fact filled with towels, much to the disappointment of can enthusiasts around the country.

That interview with Spin has since been shared around the world and last night, we heard another side of the story from the person who actually took the photo. Siobhan Berry, who runs a food educating site for parents called Mummy Cooks, took to Instagram to tell the whole story which starts: 'The Day We Met Matt Damon! You may have seen this photo doing the rounds of late. Initially, we had no intention of sharing the photo but now that Matt’s been laughing and talking on the radio about it, I thought I'd tell you how I came to take this photo.'

Siobhan continues: 'We were out for a family swim and we bumped into Matt and his family. It was all very cool - no one else around…just his (and my family) enjoying the freezing cold water and having a laugh! As we were all leaving, he very politely obliged for a photo, leaning in with his Super Valu l bag keeping the social distance!'

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The day we met Matt Damon! . You may have seen this photo doing the rounds of late. Initially, we had no intention of sharing the photo but now that Matt’s been laughing and talking on the radio about it, I thought I'd tell you how I came to take this photo. We were out for a family swim and we bumped into Matt and his family. It was all very cool - no one else around…just his (and my family) enjoying the freezing cold water and having a laugh! As we were all leaving, he very politely obliged for a photo, leaning in with his @supervalu_irl bag keeping the social distance! . As he confirmed on the radio, he was holding a bag of swim gear and towels - not cans!! Both my husband and I agreed not to share the photo publicly but it got leaked through a family WhatsApp group a few days later and boom! it was then all over social media. We felt awful and really sorry about the whole situation; we wrote an apology letter to him but never got to deliver it. After hearing him on radio today, he obviously sees the funny side and the fact that the photo ultimately turned into one of the feelgood stories of the early summer. . While we never intended that the photo should leak anywhere, we were delighted that so many people – Matt included – got so much entertainment from the result. And the result? Irish people were delighted to welcome such a friendly and globally respected actor and activist to live amongst us while enjoying his privacy and one of the few good things that the virus has thrown up – precious and hassle-free time with his family in a country that respects and cherishes the important things in life. . Also, my daughters Ashleigh & Jessica @cookingwithjessica_ (aged 9 and 11) learnt a very valuable lesson. They now see how something private can so quickly go viral and spin out of control. . Anyhow, all’s well that ends well. . #mattdamon #cookingwithjessica #dalkey #lockdownlife

A post shared by Siobhan Berry (@mummycooks) on

It was never Siobhan's intention for the photo to go viral, as she explains: 'As he confirmed on the radio, he was holding a bag of swim gear and towels - not cans!! Both my husband and I agreed not to share the photo publicly but it got leaked through a family WhatsApp group a few days later and boom! It was then all over social media. We felt awful and really sorry about the whole situation; we wrote an apology letter to him but never got to deliver it. After hearing him on radio today, he obviously sees the funny side and the fact that the photo ultimately turned into one of the feelgood stories of the early summer.'

Ah, the perils of the family WhatsApp group. The story goes on: 'While we never intended that the photo should leak anywhere, we were delighted that so many people – Matt included – got so much entertainment from the result. And the result?  Irish people were delighted to welcome such a friendly and globally respected actor and activist to live amongst us while enjoying his privacy and one of the few good things that the virus has thrown up – precious and hassle-free time with his family in a country that respects and cherishes the important things in life.'

'Also, my daughters Ashleigh & Jessica (Siobhan adds the handle for Jessica's very own Insta page - @cookingwithjessica) , aged 9 and 11 learned a very valuable lesson. They now see how something private can so quickly go viral and spin out of control. Anyhow, all’s well that ends well.'

So there you have it. Matt Damon wasn't drinking a bag of cans by the sea in Dalkey, he was merely being a good neighbour and mingling with the locals. You can view Siobhan's story in full and follow her page here.

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