THE “nation has lost one of its favourite uncles” is how actor Mick Lally’s son Darach summed up the feelings of sadness which spread far beyond his family at the funeral of his father in Dublin yesterday.
The humanist funeral ceremony for Mr Lally, who died on Tuesday at the age of 64 after a short illness, dwelt on his love of Irish culture and commitment to social causes that defined his life.
In attendance were many actors, among them several who had starred alongside Mr Lally in the RTÉ series Glenroe.
Although best known for his role as Miley Byrne in the weekly television series which ran from 1983 to 2001, Mr Lally also had an illustrious stage career and had played roles in major films, including Oliver Stone’s Alexander in 2004, and was the voice of Brother Aidan in the Academy Award nominated animated film The Secret of Kells.
He was also a founding member and driving force behind Druid theatre company.
In all these aspects of his life Darach said his father had left a major impact, stating: “It seemed that no one exposed to him could be immune to his magnetism.”
He added: “The media coverage and the nation’s reaction is a testament to how much a self-developed code of ethics and a strict discipline of treating all with respect, even if it wasn’t reciprocal, could shape a character of such rarity.”
In a service punctuated with music and song as Gaeilge, friends spoke of Mr Lally’s long commitment to supporting the struggle for social justice and that his central concerns were his family, “ideas, books and essentially other people”.
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