Dervla Kirwan was born in Churchtown, Dublin on 24th October 1971.
Her first acting role came at the age of 15 when she appeared in the BBC Drama Troubles in 1987.
She made her first film appearance as Young Martha in December Bride in 1989, alongside Ciarán Hinds.
She got her television break in the 1991 BBC Scotland production of A Time To Dance, adapted by Melvyn Bragg from his own novel. She then went on to play Phoebe Bamford in Goodnight Sweetheart (1993) with Nicholas Lyndhurst.
For 23 episodes, from 1996–1998, she appeared in Ballykissangel in the role of Assumpta Fitzgerald. Kirwan 's performance in Ballykissangel won her the National TV Award for Best Actress in 1996, and the Irish Post Award for Best Irish Entertainer in 1997. In 1998, she starred alongside Christopher Eccleston in the film With Or Without You as Belfast girl Rosie Boyd.
Early in 1999 a different Dervla appeared on our screens in the two-part psychological thriller The Dark Room.
Another of her projects, Hearts and Bones, came to our screens for a six-part series in May 2000 in which she starred with Hugo Speer.
In 2005 Dervla was back on British TV in Casanova, playing the mother of David Tennant's famous lothario.
Kirwan appeared as the villain Miss Hartigan in The Next Doctor, the 2008 Christmas special of Doctor Who, alongside David Tennant and David Morrissey.
Kirwan appeared in the Irish film Ondine alongside Colin Farrell and Stephen Rea which was released in 2009. She played Maura, the alcoholic bitter ex-girlfriend of Colin's character Syracuse. Kirwan won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Film at the 2010 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) for her role in Ondine.
Kirwan also appeared in the four-part BBC drama The Silence in 2010. She played the role of the warm-hearted aunt of a young deaf girl who witnessed a murder. The Silence aired in July 2010. For her role as Maggie, Kirwan won the Dagger for Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 Crime Thriller Awards.
In 2011, Kirwan worked on Injustice a five-part psychological thriller on ITV written by Anthony Horowitz. She starred as Jane Travers, wife of main character, Will Travers played by James Purefoy.