Tributes have been paid from across the county to the the late Donal Courtney following the shocking and sad news broke that the hugely talented and more importantly, well-loved actor, passed away.
Donal, who had become nationally and internationally known thanks to his incredible performance in the one-man show 'God Has No Country' - a play written by Donal himself – which told the tale of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty's war time exploits in Rome during World War II.
Widely credited as the acting teacher that 'discovered' the acting talents of the young Michael Fassbender, there was much more to Donal than met the eye, Donal was an accomplished actor, renowned writer and creative director who had, only at the start of this year, begun work on the ‘West End House - School of Arts’, which he had founded with Fassbender.
Mayor of Killarney Marie Moloney paid tribute to Donal on Monday, whom she called a “wonderfully gifted actor and drama coach and a very proud and accomplished Killarney man.”
"It was with deep shock and profound sadness that I learned of the passing, at such a young age, of Donie Courtney,” she said.
"Donie’s one-man play on the life and times of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was a true work of art and it really highlighted his extraordinary talent as a writer and actor. As chairperson of the board of management at Killarney Community College, I have been very aware of the great work Donie did with students, including some aspiring actors, through the classes he hosted in his position as director of the West End School of Drama,” she continued.
Going on, Mayor Moloney said that was Donal’s commitment and dedication to his craft was second to none as well as acknowledging the Courtney’s family history in Killarney.
“His passion, commitment and dedication to his craft was so evident as he worked so enthusiastically alongside the young students and they learned so much from him. The Courtney family, of course, is steeped in local politics in Killarney with Donie’s late father, Michael, and his brothers, Hugh and Paddy, all serving on the former Killarney Town Council with distinction,” she said.
“To the extended Courtney family, I extend my sincere sympathies and those of the people of Killarney. Donie will be a great loss. May he rest in peace,” she finished.
Also paying tribute to Donal on Sunday were the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society, who said that they were saddened to hear of Donal’s untimely passing.
"It was with great shock and sadness that we heard yesterday of the untimely passing of our dear friend Donie Courtney, renowned drama coach, playwright, producer, director and performer,” they said in a release after the news broke.
"The members of the Memorial Society will greatly miss Donie – a true friend of the Society, using his great creative talent to help us spread awareness in a most unique way. To his wife Adeline and his two young children and to his siblings and the wider Courtney family, we extend our deepest Sympathies and sincere Condolences. A master dramatist has left us, but his legacy remains,” they continued.
The funeral arrangements for Donal Courtney will be announced later.