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Death of talented actor sends shock throughout Killarney and beyond 




The untimely passing of talented actor, renowned drama coach, playwright, producer, director and performer, Donal 'Donie' Courtney, has sent shockwaves through the town and beyond. 

Donie in full flow in St Mary’s Church in June 2019. Photo courtesy of Don MacMonagle


The married father of two passed away on Saturday following a short illness.

The Ardshanavooley man, son of former town councillor Michael and his wife Sheila Courtney, was most well known for his one man show 'God Has No Country' as part of the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Society. Most recently he had set up the West End House School of Arts in Killarney, a professional acting school with his close friend and Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender. 

Donie graduated from Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting in 1991 and acquired an MA in Theatre Practice from the University of Maynooth. Acting credits include 'The Importance of Being Earnest', 'Philadelphia, here I come!', 'The Man from Clare', 'The Crazy Wall', 'The Chastitute', 'In High Germany', 'Homefront', 'Antigone', and 'Waiting for Godot' and TV work such as 'The Tudors', 'Fair City', 'Acceptable Risk', 'Cutting Grass' and 'Marú'.

"It was with great shock and sadness that we heard of the untimely passing of our dear friend Donie Courtney," Gerry O'Grady from the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Society said.

"In late 2012, Donie, the son of our founding Chairman the late Cllr Michael Courtney, contacted the O’Flaherty Society to advise us of his intentions to write, produce and perform a “one man play” on the life of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. From our archives and through the O’Flaherty family contacts, we assisted Donie with whatever background information we could source. It was his intention to have the play ready for its Killarney premiere during the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Week in late October 2013, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Monsignor’s death and the unveiling of the Memorial on Mission Road. The title of the play would be the Monsignor’s motto of “God Has No Country”. True to his word, Donie performed his play for a three-night run in the Mangerton Room theatre at the Great Southern Hotel. It was a remarkable piece of writing and acting, attracting high praise from all who saw it."

Donal went on to perform 'God Has No Country' around Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. This included a very special performance in Rome at the invitation of the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See. In February 2019, the play had its 100th performance during a short run at the INEC in Killarney.

"Prior to that performance, we presented Donie with one of Monsignor O’Flaherty’s golf clubs. He made extensive use of a golf club throughout the play and from then on, he could do so with one used by the Monsignor during his golfing exploits in Rome and Kerry.

"Donie’s last performance for us was during the June 2019 Memorial weekend when we presented the Hugh O’Flaherty Humanitarian Award to members of the Irish UN peacekeepers. The centrepiece of the ceremony in St Mary’s Church of Ireland was 'God Has No Country', performed before Government Ministers and Officials, Defence Force Senior Staff Officers, UN Veterans and several foreign Ambassadors.

Before the onset of COVID-19 we were in regular contact with Donie, discussing his plans to extend the touring programme. Through his play, he has dramatically extended the reach of the Hugh O’Flaherty story, in particular throughout the student population of Ireland.

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.
Codladh Samh Donie, - May You Rest in Peace."

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Start clocking up those ‘Kingdom Kilometres’

With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways. The recently opened […]




With an increase in daylight hours there’s no better time to clock up the ‘Kingdom Kilometres’ on foot or by cycling along the county’s two new Greenways.

The recently opened Kingdom of Kerry Greenways between Tralee and Fenit and between Listowel and Abbeyfeale are already proving hugely popular with locals and visitors to Kerry.

Representatives of the tourism Industry, local public representatives, travel writers and influencers gathered in Kerry on Monday to experience the exciting new tourist attractions and welcome the arrival of the longer daylight hours as the clocks changed over to summertime.

Sarah Hanrahan, a social media influencer who posts about Irish travel and has more than 100,000 Instagram followers, described the experience.

“Ireland has some of the most amazing outdoor spaces. For a lot of my followers and other people, connecting with green spaces has become much more important to their overall sense of well-being as well as their health and fitness. It’s been really gorgeous to experience the Tralee to Fenit, and Listowel to Limerick Kingdom of Kerry Greenways; a fantastic trip sampling the warm hospitality of Kerry and a great reminder of the active holiday options that are right on our doorstep.”

The new purpose-built trails provide an accessible and inclusive experience for visitors of all abilities.

Mayor of Tralee, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and the Mayor of Listowel, Cllr Aoife Thornton, said that the greenways offer an exceptional recreational amenity for everyone to enjoy.

“The greenways are situated in some of Kerry’s most scenic landscapes and offer spectacular and safe off-road facilities for people of all ages to enjoy as the landscape comes into bloom. They also offer warm hospitality at the trail head towns of each route.”

Visit to find out more.


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St Patrick’s Day parade winners announced

Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney. Delighted […]



Killarney Valley Classic and Vintage Club has won the sought-after overall award in recognition of their colourful and action-packed entry to this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney.

Delighted club representatives were presented with the Seán O’Keeffe Perpetual Trophy – in memory of the former Mayor of Killarney and parade stalwart – at a gala presentation of prizes in the International Hotel, Killarney on Tuesday night.

The award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme, which was Killarney: Experience More, went to the Wander Wild Festival who received the Michael Courtney Perpetual Trophy which is dedicated to the memory of another former mayor of the town who spearheaded the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations for many years.

The John ‘Killer’ O’Callaghan Perpetual Trophy for the Best Sporting Entry was won by Killarney Athletic AFC and the Peter Irwin Memorial Trophy for the Best Marching Group and Cultural/Arts Entry went to Millstreet Pipe Band.

The Best Sports Club was Spa GAA, the Best Children’s Group prize was won by Kilcummin Comhaltas and the Best New Entry was Killarney Rugby Football Club.

There was an international flavour to the Best Musical Entry which was scooped by the Glenridge High School Marching Band from New Jersey.

The prize for the Best Voluntary Group went to the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, the Best School Award went to the Fiona Crowley Stage School and the Best Activity Group was deemed to be Scorchers Cheerleading Club.

The Most Entertaining Entry went to the Killarney Tidy Towns group, the prize for the Most Original Entry was won by Liebherr Container Cranes and the Most Imaginative Entry in the parade was the Art House, Killarney.

The Most Stylish Entry prize was awarded to the Ukrainian community whose representative said they were delighted to play a part in Ireland’s national holiday and thanked the people of Killarney for the warm welcome they have received.

Other prizes presented on the night included the Best Window Display which went to Christy Healy’s on New Street who were celebrating 100 years in business on St Patrick’s Day, while the Europe Hotel and Resort won the Best Green-Themed Building prize.

The judges for the parade were Br Pat Lynch, Guardian, Franciscan Friary, Pam Brosnan, Killarney Musical Society and Denis McMahon.

The awards were presented by Killarney St Patrick’s Festival Chairman Paul Sherry, Mayor of Killarney Cllr Niall Kelleher, Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce Senior Executive Bridget O’Keeffe, and parade grand marshal Cathal P Walshe.

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