Pupils starstruck as Michael Fassbender pops in to his old school
HIS visit was unannounced and low-key but Hollywood star Michael Fassbender was welcomed back with open arms at his old school.
The Oscar-nominated actor spent more than an hour at Fossa National School near Killarney, Co Kerry, where he chatted with the 240 pupils, and was in no hurry to leave despite his dad Josef's growing anxiety.
His mum Adele had dinner, roast duck, waiting at home that was going to be ruined if her son didn't get his skates on.
But what struck his young audience was how down to earth he was, happy to answer questions, pose for photographs and even sing a song.
"He was normal and you couldn't tell he was rich and famous," said Sean Myers (11), a sixth-class pupil.
Just before lunch, the children's teacher Ms Hallissey told them there was a special visitor and they all had to go to the hall to meet him.
"She told us to line up and when we heard it was Michael Fassbender we all got really excited and when he walked in we gave him a massive cheer," Anna Clifford (12) said.
Answering questions, the star revealed he did suffer from stage fright and that learning lines was difficult. To the delight of the pupils, the 37-year-old also revealed his favourite football team was Liverpool.
The only teacher who was absent on Monday was Michael's former teacher Linda O'Donoghue, who joked one of the positives of getting older was that she could boast that she taught Michael Fassbender.
Although she was disappointed to have missed the unexpected visit, Ms O'Donoghue had been part of an invited 'Late Late Show' audience for a pre-recorded interview with the actor.
Principal Pat Clifford said the actor had arrived without any warning. "It was all spontaneous. I didn't even know he was coming but it was better in a way because the kids weren't prepared or rehearsed.
"What was very obvious was his charisma and the time he gave the children," Mr Clifford added.
And just before he left, the 'Twelve Years a Slave' star sang The Beatles' 'Hey Jude', accompanied on piano by teacher Helen Moynihan.