Neeson was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, the son of Katherine "Kitty" Neeson (née Brown), a cook, and Bernard "Barney" Neeson, a caretaker at the Ballymena Boys All Saints Primary School. Raised as a Roman Catholic, he was named Liam after the local priest. The third of four siblings, he has three sisters: Elizabeth, Bernadette, and Rosaleen. Neeson said growing up as a Catholic in a predominately Protestant town made him cautious, and once said he felt like a "second class" citizen in the town; though he also stated that he was never made to feel "inferior or even different" at the town's predominantly Protestant technical college. Neeson has described himself as out of touch with the politics and history of Northern Ireland, until becoming aware of protests by fellow students after Bloody Sunday in 1972, during the Troubles conflict. The experience of these protests encouraged him to learn more about local history. In a 2009 interview, Neeson said "I never stop thinking about it [the Troubles]. I've known guys and girls who have been perpetrators of violence and victims. Protestants and Catholics. It's part of my DNA. "