Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born on May 16, 1953, in County Louth, Ireland, to Thomas Brosnan and May (née Smith). Brosnan never knew his father (a carpenter), who upped and left when he was an infant. After Thomas abandoned the family, his mother moved to London to find work as a nurse and provide for her son.
For most of his childhood, Brosnan lived with his grandparents and grew up in County Meath, which he considers his home. He would later describe this period as a happy but relatively solitary childhood.
Growing Up in Politically Turbulent Times
Brosnan’s mother made the courageous decision to go away to London on her own when being Catholic was a dangerous thing. She endured plenty of hardship as an unmarried Irish Woman in the city.
But May was determined to make a better life for herself and her son. She worked hard, making up for the absence of a father figure in her son’s life. May visited once or twice a year to meet her son and his grandparents.
An Unhappy School Life
When his grandparents passed away, Brosnan lived with an uncle and aunt. Soon enough, his relatives no longer had room for him. A young Brosnan ended up boarding at a less-affluent part of town. During this time, he attended a school run by the De La Salle or Christian brothers, whom he would later call “bitter” and “dreadful human beings.”
He said he had learned nothing from the brothers except shame. A young Brosnan despised his education, particularly the institution’s hypocrisy and cruelty towards children.
He Leaves Ireland
On August 12, 1964, Brosnan left Ireland to reunite with his mother, who now lived in Scotland. She had married William Carmichael, a World War II veteran, and the couple lived in an idyllic Scottish village called Longniddrie. Brosnan and Carmichael warmed up to each other, and he quickly became the father figure the boy never had.
An 11-year-old Brosnan watched a James Bond film for the first time with his new dad. A few years later, the family moved back to London, where Brosnan attended Elliott School in Putney, West London.
His Move From Ireland to England
Life in England was remarkably different for a boy accustomed to a quiet life in rural Ireland. From a small school with about seven classrooms to one with over 2,000 children, city life proved surreal for a young Brosnan.
Things moved incredibly fast. Brosnan’s deep sense of being an outsider intensified since his schoolmates never let him forget he was Irish. “Irish” was, in fact, the nickname they gave him at school.