Spunky, tenacious, and passionate Erin Quinn is the de facto ringleader of the Derry girls, and their antics and adventures make up the highs and lows of her adolescent life towards the end of The Troubles in the Northern Irish town of Derry. Living with her parents, grandfather, and infant sister in the walled city, her life isn’t all that different from any teenagers’, save for the fact that there are security checkpoints, roadblocks, and British soldiers throughout her hometown.
It’s not hard to see why she’s the one person holding her group of friends together – she’s got a good head on her shoulders, demonstrates a certain fearlessness, and despite the best efforts of her hooligan chums, tries to do the right thing. Yet despite Erin’s sterling qualities, there are aspects of her personality and her life that just don’t add up.
Erin might have the energy, enthusiasm, and attitude of a teenager, but she doesn’t seem to look it. Often her appearance and body language make her appear much older than her sixteen years. Actress Saoirse Monica-Jackson (27) was in her mid-twenties when she filmed the series, and this may account for her presentation.
In fact, the vast majority of the female cast are in their mid-twenties, but while Clare manages to look her age (despite actress Nicola Coughlan have been 31 at the time the series began filming), Erin looks like she’s well out of high school, and it can occasionally make her interactions with actual younger cast members look strange.
Michelle is the most abrasive member of the Derry girls, and somehow has the ability to make her friends do whatever she wants. Even when she gets up to mischief on her own (like stealing the chip shop job board, or threatening to punch younger students), everyone else manages to get in trouble for it.
Erin has a lot of heart and a fair amount of confidence for her age, yet she doesn’t stand up to Michelle. She might complain a bit, but ultimately doesn’t do anything to stop her. She seems to be worried about her future prospects in life, but doesn’t seem to make the connection that remaining friends with a hot head like Michelle will get her expelled.
In the middle of Season 1, Erin suffers a family tragedy; the sudden loss of Toto, her terrier. The dog hasn’t been seen prior to that, and fans have no idea how much he meant to her. She has strong feelings for a pet that she’s never even seen playing with, holding, or even heard mentioning.
Viewers are made to think that she’s actually lost her Grandpa Joe because she’s staring at a photograph of the pair together, and it can be argued the joke might not have worked as well if fans had seen her spending a copious amount of time with the dog.