THE smile is unmistakable and even as a youngster Michael Fassbender was clearly in his element entertaining other people.
When he was a member of Fossa Youth Club, the now world-famous Hollywood actor and Golden Globe nominee entertained senior citizens in his home parish by playing his accordion.
Photographer James Houlihan captured a young Fassbender at a social in Fossa near Killarney, Co Kerry, in 1989, where he also joined in the set dancing.
His broad smile clearly demonstrates that the 12-yearold was enjoying himself.
The pictures appear in ‘Second Glance – Fossa and Aghadoe, our History and Heritage', a publication by the historical society in the village where the actor was reared.
Born in Heidelberg in Germany, Mr Fassbender was only a toddler when his parents Josef and Adele, who was originally from Co Antrim, moved to Killarney, where his father took up a job in the German-owned Europe hotel.
The family settled in Fossa, a pretty village by the lakes just a couple of miles outside the town, where Michael and his older sister Catherine attended the local school.
“He also played a bit of football with Fossa GAA Club before we lost him to acting,” recalled Gene Moriarty of Fossa Historical Society, a member of the committee that produced the book. “Hopefully he’ll go from strength to strength. He was always anxious to do well and we take great pleasure in his success.”
The actor, who’s widely tipped to be nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film ‘Shame’, has not forgotten his roots and is a regular visitor home.
“He was in the local one night over Christmas and was getting a terrible ribbing from everyone about the new film,”
Mr Moriarty added. In ‘Shame’, directed by Steve McQueen, the actor plays the part of Brandon Sullivan, a sex addict whose hungers drive him to frequent use of prostitutes, internet porn and porn shops.
His portrayal of the part has already won him a nomination for best actor in the Golden Globes, where he was up against George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Gosling.
At the awards ceremony in Hollywood, Mr Clooney, who was the eventual winner, joked that the Killarney man had taken over the “frontal nude responsibility” that he once held.
“Really Michael, honestly, you can play golf like this with your hands behind your back,” the actor said of his co-nominee.
The actor was also spotted in The Laurels pub in Killarney just before Christmas where he was catching up with old friends.
“He was really polite and friendly,” one local said.