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Death of talented actor sends shock throughout Killarney and beyond 

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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

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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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​​Bursaries presented to schools at Lions Club open night

By Michelle Crean Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group. Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St […]

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By Michelle Crean

Three Killarney schools have been awarded bursaries from a local group.

Killarney Lions Club made the presentations to Killarney Community College, St Brigid’s Presentation School and St Brendan’s College to help support students in need.

It took place at their open night recently in the KDYS Youth Centre.

The night featured different exhibitions about Killarney Lions Club activities such as the Annual Christmas Food Appeal and the Kerry Clubs Fair.

“It was great that people made the effort to come and find out more what Killarney Lions Club does, despite the weather on the night. We are a voluntary group so community support is vital for activities such as our Christmas Food Appeal which will kick off very soon.”

The Killarney Lions Club, through its members, assists various groups and individuals in and around the community. Lions do this through voluntary activities, fundraising and by holding various types of events in support of a great many local causes.

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Staff celebrated for their long service

Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently. The event was held for all […]

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Stalwarts of the tourism industry in Killarney were delighted to celebrate their long term team members with a gourmet dinner in Great Southern recently.

The event was held for all team members of the Great Southern and Killarney Royal who have over 10 years of service, and was hosted by Michael Jacobi, Managing Director, Hayfield Family Collection and Mark Scally, Financial Controller, Hayfield Family Collection.

32 employees celebrated on the night, with the Great Southern represented by John Fitzgerald with 53 years of service, Martina O’Leary with 44 years of service and Kathleen Bhuiyan with 31 years of service. From Killarney Royal Joseph Hurley celebrated 37 years of service with John Harrington celebrating 32 years and Nuala Doolan celebrating 30 years.

“It is an absolute pleasure for us to celebrate our long term staff members,” event host and Hayfield Family Collection Managing Director, Michael Jacobi, said.

“They have played such an integral part in achieving the high standards we are known to provide and are such familiar welcoming faces for our guests.”

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