Kerry talent shines on the world stage in 2018

Fergus Dennehy

Another year down - and another hugely successful year it was for our abundance of home-grown talents in Kerry as they made not just national headlines but world-stage headlines in 2018.

Whether it was Killarney's Jessie Buckley taking the lead in her latest film 'Beast', Cromane film producer Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly being nominated for one of UK film industry's most-coveted awards, or a Ballyheigue man dressing a royal princess - Kerry's stars have enjoyed a stellar year of success.

Ballyheigue fashion designer Don O'Neill and his THEIA brand have consistently made the headlines over the past few years - dressing Oprah for the Oscars being just one success story - and 2018 again proved no different.

One of the biggest celebrity stories of the year happened back in October when the new Duchess of Sussex stepped out on her royal tour of Australia wearing one of Don's THEIA creations.

"In this world of thousands of incredible designers to choose from, I truly count myself blessed to have dressed the Duchess, and I believe my mom played a major role in helping this opportunity come about," said an emotional Don, speaking to The Kerryman back in October.

Describing the Royal request to custom -make a Theia gown for the Duchess as a "magical opportunity', Don revealed that seeing the photos all over social media was something that he will never, ever forget.

"It was just utterly surreal to know that my dress, a dress that I designed and that we lovingly made in our studio just a few weeks ago, was now here, on The Duchess of Sussex, the most famous woman in the world, looking amazing," he added.

It was not just Don, however, that was excelling at their craft as Killarney's Jessie Buckley delighted audiences in her appearance on The Late Late Show back in May.

There, she spoke about her latest film, 'Beast', in which she acted out the role of Moll.

The film was released back in 2017 to critical acclaim. Jessie's lead role in the dark and uncompromising 'Beast' has won plaudits left, right and centre for the Kerry woman, who came to fame in 'I'd Do Anything'.

The film has since gone on to receive 10 nominations in the British Independent Film Awards, including nominations for the Killarney actor in both the 'Best Actress' and 'Most Promising Newcomer' categories.

Cromane native Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly meanwhile was honoured by the BAFTAs 'Breakthrough Brits' initiative, established to celebrate the next generation of British-based talent. The Cromane producer has been based in London for a number of years and was among 17 others honoured by the initiative.

She returned to Killarney last year, where she screened her film, 'Lady Macbeth'. Her latest film, 'My Generation', stars Michael Caine.

Finally, after a brilliant personal year for Killarney's Michael Fassbender in 2017, where he not only married girlfriend Alicia Vikander but also received the Order of Inisfallen, 2018 has been a year of looking to the future for 41-year old film star as he prepares to have two films released in 2019.

He will star as Magneto in 'Dark Phoenix', the 12th film in the X-Men series, in 2019; while his other film, 'Kung Fury II: The Movie', is currently in development.

His role in this latter film is yet to be announced.