A farewell of poetry, music and applause

MICK LALLY’S driving passions of acting, the Irish language and the struggle for social justice were to the fore in the humanist ceremony which marked the 64-year-old actor’s final journey yesterday in west Dublin.

The Mayo-born actor’s remains were accompanied by a Garda escort to Newlands Cross Crematorium Chapel just before 2pm.

Accompanying them were his mother May, wife Peige and children Saileog, Darach and Maghnus as well as other family members. Mr Lally’s father Tommy, 97, was not able to make the journey from Mayo.

Family members carried the plain pine coffin into a poignant service led by humanist celebrant Brian Whiteside, who said Mr Lally’s was a “life well lived” and deserved to be celebrated.

In an emotional contribution Darach Lally said his father “like all good performers” had left his “audience wanting more”. He said the defining memory he had was of a man who “considered his real work of his life” was “challenging hypocrisy, victimisation and discrimination”.

In a very personal tribute Darach said his father had “his own code of ethics” which had brought him into conflict on occasion with the establishment.

He ended with the words his father’s close friend Séamus Mulligan had said into his “dead ear” at his wake the night before “if your half as popular in the place your going as your were here, your alright”.

Tributes followed from friends, much as Gaeilge, while his sister-in-law, Áine, sung a haunting sean-nós lament and playwright and actor Vincent Woods read the poem Erin to mark Mr Lally’s love of Ireland and Australia.

Among the other artistic contributions was a rendition’s of the traditional ballad “the parting glass”.

Among the key events in Mr Lally’s life recalled was his role as a founding member of the Druid theatre company in the elate 1970s.

Also recounted was his happy but at times hard upbringing in Tourmakeady, Mayo, as the eldest of a family of seven children. educated at St Mary’s College in Galway he went on to study arts at UCG, where he developed his passion for theatre with the college’s Cumann Drámaíochta. He had gone on to become a school teacher before returning to his passion for acting.

The service concluded with a sustained round of applause led by Mr Whiteside followed by sean nós singing.

Among the mourners were brother Tomás and five sisters, Teresa, Marie, Sarah, Nuala and Rita.

The many actors in attendance included Brendan Gleeson, David Kavanagh, Stephen Rea, Frank Kelly, Luke Hayden and Johnny Murphy.

Many former members of the cast of the RTÉ series Glenroe were present including Alan Stanford, Robert Carrickford and Geraldine Plunkett.

Others in attendance included the Taoiseach’s aide-de-camp, Arts Minister Mary Hanafin, former RTÉ director general Cathal Goan, broadcaster Micheál O Muircheartaigh and Abbey director Fiach Mac Conghail.

The family requested no flowers be brought to the funeral, with only a heather arrangement on the coffin, preferring funds be given to aid flood victims in Pakistan in honour of Mr Lally’s long association with the charity Bóthar.

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