Political tributes to Mr Lally poured in yesterday following the announcement of his death.
“Versatile in both the Irish and English languages, his genius at capturing and portraying the essence of the characters he played brought him wide popular and critical acclaim,” Mr Cowen said.
“Our sympathies are with his wife Peige, three children Saileog, Maghnus and Darach, and his parents.”
Arts Minister Mary Hanafin said Mr Lally’s contribution to the theatrical world had been immense.
“Whether he was voicing Keane, Synge or indeed Burrows, his was a distinctive, inimitable contribution to our stage and screen craft,” she said.
“His wonderful ability to communicate with his audiences, whether in the intimate setting in the early days of Druid, on stage in the National Theatre [the Abbey] or in the sitting rooms of homes every Sunday for over 10 years playing the character of ‘Miley’ in Glenroe, [meant] Mick Lally was an integral part of the world of acting and, by extension, our society.”
Gaeltacht Minister Pat Carey said Mr Lally had “earned a special place in the hearts of Irish people” through his “consummate professionalism, humility and generosity of spirit as an actor and as a man”.
The minister paid particular tribute to Mr Lally’s work in Irish language theatre, television and film.
Green leader and Environment Minister John Gormley said Mr Lally represented “a very real part of Irish culture”.
Labour TD and former Arts Minister Michael D Higgins said Mr Lally had made groundbreaking contributions on stage, television and radio.
“A native Irish speaker and he was at the forefront of development of the Irish language in an open and generous way. A supporter of socialist causes, he had courage and consistency in his idealism,” he said.
Fine Gael arts spokesman Jimmy Deenihan said: “Not alone was Mick a great actor but he was a fine individual. He was amenable to all who met him and he will be a major loss to the Irish stage.”