Carol Foley, previously Meehan (born 1968), is a fictional character in the Irish soap opera Fair City, portrayed by Aisling O'Neill. O'Neill originally auditioned for the role of Ava.
Carol is one of the main female characters on the show. She is regularly parodied by Mario Rosenstock in Gift Grub on Today FM. The character has been described as "undoubtedly Fair City's most iconic character" and compared to Peggy Mitchell, who appears in the British soap opera EastEnders.
When her son Lorcan was involved in joyriding in 2001, Carol arrived in Carrigstown and confronted his adopted parents, Kay and Malachy. Infuriated by their ignorance, a drunken Carol succeeded in giving up the booze and became engaged to her old boyfriend Billy Meehan. Billy had an affair with a prostitute, Tracy. When Carol became pregnant, Billy showed his good side, but elsewhere he was using Leo Dowling's taxis as vehicles to take prostitutes to their clients. When Carol learnt of Billy's criminal status, she threatened to leave him, but the crime boss attacked the pregnant woman, causing her to fall down the stairs. Carol subsequently lost her baby and vowed to get her revenge. She found out about Billy's affair on her wedding day, vowed vengeance and teamed up with Leo Dowling in 2002.
Angered that Billy had forced his wife Pauline to flee the country, Leo had a showdown with the crime boss and left a bloody remnant of Billy afterwards. Carol was preparing to leave Ireland with Lorcan, but Billy came across her flight tickets and attacked her. An infuriated Lorcan appeared and killed Billy with a golf club. With Billy dead, Carol immediately went into action, calling Leo over to the crime scene. Although Leo suspected that Billy's body had been in a different position the last time he saw him, Carol tricked Leo into believing that he killed him. The pair subsequently buried Billy's body in the Dublin Mountains. Pascal Mulvey, a war veteran and Lorcan's friend, convinced the teenager to join the Irish Army. Carol managed to convince both Leo and Lorcan to keep Billy's death a secret. Carol, not wanting to be associated with Billy's prostitution ring, put Mick O'Shea in charge of The Galley, which was a front for prostitutes. On Christmas Day, Leo's conscience got the better of him and he found himself at Billy's burial site. Carol was able to keep Leo under control, but months later in 2003, the Gardaí came across Billy's body when a dog dug it up.
Detective Byrne and Sergeant Deegan tried to solve the murder of Billy Meehan. Although Deegan suspected that Leo was behind it, Byrne sensed that Carol was involved. They soon discovered that Carol had been lying about receiving phone calls from Billy, but the innocent Leo became the prime suspect of murdering Billy. Pascal refused to allow an innocent man take the fall and arranged to meet Carol. When Carol arrived at the location, she was shocked to discover that Pascal was sitting unconscious in a chair and the war veteran spent months in a comatose state in hospital. Days before the trial took place, Leo suddenly realised that Billy's body had been moved, but by then it was too late, as Carol feigned ignorance of what really happened. Leo was wrongfully convicted for murder. Lorcan visited Pascal in hospital and decided to tell the Gardaí everything. A few months later, Leo was released from prison. The second trial found Lorcan not guilty. Carol began a relationship with Shay Houlihan in 2004, but she found him too boring and broke up with him. She later began a relationship with Anthony Farrell.
When a crime boss, Sylvester Garrigan, arrived in Carrigstown in 2005, he took advantage of the death of his predecessor and seized control of the remnants of Billy Meehan's criminal empire. It became known that Farrell was Garrigan's solicitor and Carol began a friendship with the crime boss through her boyfriend's meetings with him. When Farrell saw Carol and Garrigan talking, he suspected that they were infatuated with each other. Carol, disgusted by this allegation, dumped Farrell. The crime boss revealed to Carol that he was illiterate and had an estranged daughter. Carol helped Garrigan in efforts to reconcile with his daughter, but he ended up losing her again when she learnt of his criminal position.
When Mick O'Shea killed a Ukrainian gang member on Garrigan's orders, the gang kidnapped Ali, Mick's niece, and threatened to kill her if he didn't assassinate Garrigan. Lorcan, Carol's son, who was married to Ali, was horrified but he was eventually persuaded to help with the assassination attempt. Carol and Garrigan were in a car when Lorcan appeared on a motorbike with the shooter. As the shooter was about to pull the trigger, Lorcan realised his mother was in the car and rode off. The shooter's aim was put off and the shot wounded Garrigan. However, he survived the attack and ordered Farrell to find those responsible.
The Ukrainians were furious that Mick goofed up but, realising that Garrigan would have all his goons on their trail, they released Ali and fled the country. After recovering in hospital, Garrigan discovered that Mick was behind the assassination attempt and forced Mick to amputate one of his own fingers as punishment for double-crossing him. Carol, in an attempt to protect her son from Garrigan's wrath, offered herself to him. Garrigan accepted and told her that Lorcan was safe.
Later an undercover agent, Rory Goff, infiltrated Garrigan's gang in 2006 and manipulated an unaware Carol into giving him information, by having a sexual relationship with her. Armed with this info, the Gardaí raided one of Garrigan's booze runs. They also found drugs which Lorcan was piggybacking on the booze run. Meanwhile, Lorcan discovered that Rory was passing information to the police but thought he was a police tout and not a Garda himself. Garrigan was furious that Lorcan implicated him in drug-dealing and he ordered Lorcan to kill the undercover Garda.
As the two men confronted each other, Lorcan fired the first shot, but Rory struck back with another, wounding them both in the process. When Carol arrived on the scene, she called for an ambulance and they were taken to hospital. Rory survived his ordeal, but Lorcan's days were numbered. When Carol and Ali convinced him to do the right thing, Lorcan made a complete death-bed confession to the Gardaí before he died in hospital. Garrigan suspected that Carol had betrayed him and decided to leave Carrigstown for the time being, but Detective Sergeant Byrne arrested him and took him to a Garda Station for questioning.
In the aftermath of Lorcan's funeral, Ali told Carol that she was pregnant with Lorcan's child. Carol subsequently broke up with Rory and warned him never to speak to her again. In 2007, Ali gave birth to a baby boy and named him Lorcan in memory of her deceased husband. Carol was overcome by happiness, but she was also saddened, as her son will never be able to hold his baby. In 2008, Rory returned to Carrigstown and began a relationship with Carol. Ali was furious when she found out and she believed that Carol was betraying Lorcan.
Carol was involved in an unlikely relationship with Christy Phelan and the pair became engaged in 2010. However, she left Christy and fell for Louie Gleeson but was left devastated when Louie had an affair with his ex Ingrid, the mother of his children. She started dating Dan Keating in 2013 shortly after his arrival in Carrigstown. In 2015, Carol began a relationship with wheeler-dealer Robbie Quinn. Carol revealed the harrowing details of her childhood to Robbie in which she recounted how she was abused by one of her father's friends when she was 11.
In the summer of 2016, Carol married Robbie in a double wedding along with Decco Bishop and Kerri-Ann Boyle. The wedding didn't go according to plan however as Carol's father Trigger turned up to the ceremony drunk and was determined to ruin his daughter's big day. As Carol is being driven to the wedding by Wayne Molloy, Trigger suddenly stepped out in front of the car and was knocked to the ground. Wayne quickly got out of the car and ran to help Trigger, who was scrambling to his feet, but was punched in the stomach and sent to the ground. Trigger then began to kick Wayne and as Carol ran to Wayne's aid, he attacked her by grabbing her hair and then punched her in the face. When Carol turned up to exchange vows, Robbie was horrified to see her all bloody and bruised. Robbie later spotted Trigger sitting at a table and went over and dragged him out outside. Trigger grabbed a glass bottle and threatened Robbie with it but Robbie quickly gained control and delivered a bad beating to Trigger. Carol's ex Dan, who served as Robbie's best man, called '999' and ordered everyone back inside. During their first dance, Carol and Robbie were forced to hide what had happened as the sound of sirens from an approaching ambulance grew louder.