Friday 23 March 2018

Local hero Michael Fassbender's own county not showing his movie

Deputy school principal Linda O'Donoghue, centre, and her pupils with the roll book at Fossa, Kerry. Picture by Don MacMonagle
Deputy school principal Linda O'Donoghue, centre, and her pupils with the roll book at Fossa, Kerry. Picture by Don MacMonagle
Michael Fassbender in the new movie '12 years a Slave'
Michael Fassbender in a class photo in Fossa National School, Killarney in 1987. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

HE has been nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, but fans in Michael Fassbender's home county will have to travel to see his new film.

'12 Years A Slave' hits Irish cinemas today, but only in Dublin, Cork and Galway as it's on limited release.

And nowhere are they more disappointed than in Fassbender's home village of Fossa, near Killarney in Co Kerry.

In his old school they're incredibly proud. Deputy principal Linda O'Donoghue fondly remembers the "loveable rogue", who always showed a talent for acting but also has a lovely singing voice.

'Micheal' Fassbender, as he was recorded on the school roll book, started at Fossa National School on September 1, 1986, one of 16 Junior Infant pupils.


Ms O'Donoghue said it was his teacher Mary Murphy, now retired, who fostered his love of acting.

"He always had that roguish smile," she told the Irish Independent. "Any time he ever got into any bit of mischief he'd give that big smile and, sure, how could you give out to him then."

The last time the Hollywood star visited his old school was in March 2009 when he was given a civic reception by Killarney Town Council and was grand marshal at the St Patrick's Day parade. While visiting his parents, Joseph and Adele, who still live in the village, he also took time to call into his old school to say 'hello'.

"He was lovely and just the same ordinary fellow he ever was with no airs or graces," his former teacher recalled.

Children had prepared the Beatles 'Let It Be' to sing for him and he joined in. When the song finished he asked teacher Helen Moynihan, who had accompanied them on piano, if she knew any more.

"We had prepared the song for him and it ended up with him entertaining us instead."

Counting a famous actor among your past pupils has also inspired children attending Fossa National School, the next generation of film makers, who have already won national awards for their efforts with sixth class teacher Fiona Hallisey who attended school with Michael's sister, Catherine.

In 2011 they won a national award for their re-enactment of the tale of Oisin and Niamh. "The children here are not afraid to dream because for them Michael is living the dream and anything is possible," Ms Hallisey said.

But as for catching their hero in '12 Years a Slave', fans in Kerry will have to wait for now.

Irish Independent

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