Born in Galway, Ireland, Coughlan developed an interest in acting at 5 years old when she watched her older sister perform in a school play. After studying at National University of Ireland, Galway, she followed her passion to England and attended the Oxford School of Drama and Birmingham School of Acting.
Coughlan got her breakout role on Derry Girls, playing Clare Devlin. The U.K. series premiered in early 2018 and gained popularity around the world after it moved to Netflix later that year. In December 2021, Coughlan confirmed that production had wrapped on the show’s third and final season, which will air on Netflix in October 2022.
Along with Derry Girls, the Harlots actress made a name for herself on the streaming platform’s period drama Bridgerton. The Shondaland series debuted in December 2020 and became an instant hit, breaking viewership records and sparking fan frenzy. Coughlan plays Penelope Featherington, a close friend of the Bridgerton family. Her budding romance with Colin Bridgerton will be a central focus as the series continues for seasons 3 and 4.
Coughlan isn’t just known for her time on TV. The SAG Award nominee made her West End debut in 2018, starring on stage in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in London. She has also appeared on The Great British Bake Off, competing against her Derry Girls costars in an episode of the baking series.