FORMER STAGE COLLEAGUE Pat Connaughton has been recalling the legendary Mick Lally, whose funeral took place last week.
'Great actor, great mind, great gentleman,' commented Pat on the man who held a nation enthralled and amused by turn as Miley in Glenroe. The deceased was one of the founders of the Druid theatre company in Galway in the seventies - and Pat Connaughton was among the young stars who worked with him over a 10-year period.
Now a teacher at the F.C.J. Convent school in Bunclody, Pat has continued his interest in theatre, as a performer and director with amateur productions. And he credits his Galway experiences for providing much of the inspiration and expertise he picked up along the way during his college days.
'It was an exceptional time and I Iearned from Mick Lally and all those Druid people,' he recalled after Friday's funeral service in Dublin.
Lally commanded respect in student drama circles, not only because he was a brilliant actor, but also because he was older and had spent several years working as a teacher in Tuam. His reputation in various productions with Taibhearc na Gaillimhe preceded him. 'We looked up to him. He was the first person I met who was an Actor,' mused Pat Connaughton on his acquaintance with the departed 64-year-old. After their Druid days, Pat headed for Bunclody and Mick Lally moved to Dublin, but there was no missing the rise of the Mayo man as he became a television star.
'Glenroe was part of the Irish psyche at the time. It chronicled the changes in modern Ireland,' said Pat Connaughton. 'Most rural people in a way were either a Biddy or a Miley.' Away from the stage, his former colleague found Mick Lally to be quiet and intelligent though very sociable and good company. 'He was a native Irish speaker, with beautiful Irish while the rest of us came through the school system. It flowed out of him. I will always be glad to have known him.'