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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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Flesk Fest promises to be a great evening of fun

By Michelle Crean Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment. The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse […]

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By Michelle Crean

Glenflesk GAA are planning a fun filled evening of top class entertainment.

The Flesk Fest takes place on Saturday July 16 at 4pm in The Kerryway Steakhouse & Bar.

Two exciting bands ‘All Folk’d Up’ and ‘Super Ceili’ will be playing and there’ll be plenty of fun and games and a delicious barbecue, raffle with some great prizes, and of course the ever popular Hang Tough Challenge!

“Please come out and support this great event! Tell your friends and we will make it a night to remember,” Seamus Healy from Glenflesk GAA said.

” Admission is only €15, and tickets are available from Mary McCarrick 087 7750773, Padraig O’Sullivan 087 0530384 or any club officer. They are also available in the Kerryway on the night.

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Rising cycling star selected for Belgium Project

By Sean Moriarty Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney cyclist Sam Bolger (18) has been selected as one of four riders for the Belgian Project – one of the most prestigious stepping stones for Irish riders with ambitions to turn professional.

Northern Ireland-based Belgian Danny Blondell is the man behind the project.

For the last 15 years Blondell selects between four and six Irish riders and sends them to Belgium where they stay with local families and contest pro and semi-pro races.

As a race commentator Blondell is well placed to decide who is deserving of inclusion in the project.

Over the first six months of the year he makes decisions while attending early season races.

Those lucky enough to get selected go to live and race in Belgium for the second six months of the year.

Bolger, from Lewis Road, was selected after winning the junior race in the Cycling Ireland National Road Series in Mayo in March and the Orwell Stage Race in County Wicklow in June.

“He is delighted, it is a very big deal,” his father Paul told the Killarney Advertiser.

“He has had a very good year and the wins in Mayo and Wicklow secured the Belgium Project.”

Bolger will head to Belgium in late July and after to the Junior Tour of Ireland which takes place in County Clare between July 12 and 17.

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