Kerry actor Donal Courtney dies aged 52 following short illness

The director and playwright is credited with introducing Michael Fassbender to acting
Kerry actor Donal Courtney dies aged 52 following short illness

Donal 'Donie' Courtney appeared in a number of RTÉ productions, including Fair City, but it is for his portrayal of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty in his play God has no Country. File photo.

Shock has been expressed at the passing of Kerry actor Donal 'Donie' Courtney who passed away following a short illness at the age of 52.

The director and playwright appeared in a number of RTÉ productions, including Fair City, but it is for his portrayal of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty in his play God has no Country that he is best known.

Married with two children, he is the son of the late long-standing Killarney town councillor and tourism director Michael Courtney a former, director of elections for Fine Gael in Kerry South.

Mr Courtney is often credited with introducing Michael Fassbender to acting and had recently established an acting school, the West End House, in Killarney with the Hollywood star.

Michael Fassbender's online fansite MFO has tweeted at the death of Mr Courtney, whom he considered his "friend and mentor".

 

Writing previously about his friend, Mr Fassbender said: "At the age of 17 I was introduced to acting by Donie Courtney. I am forever indebted to him as he set me off on a path that changed my life. We have remained friends ever since.

"In the spring of 2020, I rang Donie and we set in motion a plan to bring a drama school to the heart of Killarney to offer the youth a place to study the arts. "

The Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society said they heard of his passing with great sadness and shock.

"It was with great shock and sadness that we heard yesterday of the untimely passing of our dear friend Donie Courtney, renowned drama coach, playwright, producer, director and performer,” they said in a release after the news broke.

"The members of the Memorial Society will greatly miss Donie – a true friend of the Society, using his great creative talent to help us spread awareness in a most unique way. To his wife Adeline and his two young children and to his siblings and the wider Courtney family, we extend our deepest Sympathies and sincere Condolences. A master dramatist has left us, but his legacy remains,” they continued.

Killarney actor Donie Courtney dressed as Msgr Hugh O'Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel) who rescued over 5,000 Jews during World War II striding through St. Brendan's College Killarney. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Killarney actor Donie Courtney dressed as Msgr Hugh O'Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel) who rescued over 5,000 Jews during World War II striding through St. Brendan's College Killarney. Picture: Don MacMonagle

Mayor of Killarney, Marie Moloney said it was with "deep shock and profound sadness that I learned of the passing, at such a young age, of Donie Courtney.

"He was a wonderfully gifted actor and drama coach and a very proud and accomplished Killarney man.

"As chairperson of the board of management at Killarney Community College, I have been very aware of the great work Donie did with students, including some aspiring actors, through the classes he hosted in his position as director of the West End School of Drama."

She added: "His passion, commitment and dedication to his craft was so evident as he worked so enthusiastically alongside the young students and they learned so much from him."

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