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Kerry actor Donald Courtney dies aged 52 after short illness

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Shock was expressed at the passing of Kerry actor Donal ‘Donie’ Courtney, who died after a short illness at the age of 52.

The director and playwright has appeared in a number of RT productions including Fair City, but it’s for his portrayal of Monsignor Hugh OFlaherty in his play god has no country that he is the best known.

Married with two children, he is the son of the late, long-serving Killarney Councilor and Director of Tourism, Michael Courtney, former Chief Electoral Officer for Fine Gael in Kerry South.

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

Michael Fassbender’s online fan site MFO tweeted at the death of Mr Courtney, whom it 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 started me on a path that has changed my life. We have remained friends ever since.

“In the spring of 2020 I phoned Donie and we set in motion a plan to bring a drama school to the heart of Killarney to provide a place for young people to study the arts.”

The Hugh OFlaherty Memorial Society said it learned of his passing with great sadness and shock.

“It is with great shock and sadness that we learned yesterday of the untimely passing of our dear friend Donie Courtney, renowned theater coach, playwright, producer, director and performer, they said in a statement after the announcement. news.

“Members of the Memorial Society will be sorely missed by Donie, a true friend of the Society, who uses his great creative talent to help us raise awareness in a very unique way. To his wife Adeline and two young children and to his siblings and the wider Courtney family, we send our deepest sympathies and deepest condolences.A master playwright has left us, but his legacy lives on, they continued.

Killarney actor Donie Courtney dressed as Bishop Hugh O'Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel) who saved over 5,000 Jews during WWII while touring St. Brendan's College Killarney.  Photo: Don MacMonagle
Killarney actor Donie Courtney dressed as Bishop Hugh O’Flaherty (The Scarlet Pimpernel) who saved over 5,000 Jews during WWII while touring St. Brendan’s College Killarney. Photo: Don MacMonagle

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

“He was a wonderfully gifted actor and theater coach and a very proud and accomplished man from Killarney.

“As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Killarney Community College, I have been very aware of the great work Donie has done with students, including some aspiring actors, through the classes he has facilitated. as headmaster 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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