(10 November 1945 – 31 August 2010)
Early lifeBorn in November 1945 and reared in Tourmakeady, County Mayo, Mick (Michael) Lally was the eldest of a family of seven children; five sisters and one brother. He went to the local national school in Tourmakeady and then to St. Mary's College, Galway. After studying at University College Galway he taught history and Irish for six years in Tuam, from 1969 to 1975, but quit teaching to pursue his career as a stage actor.
CareerMick began his acting career with Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe (Ireland's national Irish language theatre), and was a founding member of the Druid Theatre Company. Lally received an Irish Times/ESB Theatre Award Nomination for Best Actor for his role in Druid's production of The Dead School. Lally also became a member of the Field Day Theatre Company, and starred in the company's 1980 premiere of Brian Friel's play Translations. He first played at the Abbey Theatre in 1977 in a production of Wild Oats and went on to perform in many other Abbey productions.
In 1982, Mick starred in the TV series The Ballroom of Romance alongside Brenda Fricker. From 1983 he played the role of Miley Byrne in the RTÉ soap Glenroe, reprising the character that he played earlier in the Bracken in 1978. In 1979, Lally won a Jacob's Award for his performance as Miley in Bracken. Lally also enjoyed some musical success when "The By-road to Glenroe" went to the top of the Irish charts in 1990. He was also involved in voice-over work - including a noted advertisement for Kilmeaden Cheese during the 1990s. Other TV appearances included roles in Tales of Kinvarna, The Year of the French and Ballykissangel.
In 1994, Lally played the character Hugh in The Secret of Roan Inish, and in 1995 portrayed Dan Hogan in the film adaptation of Maeve Binchy's Circle Of Friends. Other film roles included: Poitín, Our Boys, The Outcasts, A Man of No Importance and others. In later years, Lally provided the voice of Brother Aidan in the Academy Award-nominated The Secret of Kells - an animated film directed by Tomm Moore.
DeathLally died on the morning of 31 August 2010, after a short stay in hospital. Cause of death was reported as heart failure - arising from an underlying emphysema condition. His death led to "widespread outpourings of sympathy".
Taoiseach Brian Cowen led tributes, saying he was "shocked and saddened" by the man's death, and calling him "one of the most loved actors of his generation and will be dearly missed by the public and his colleagues in theatre and television". Minister for Culture Mary Hanafin and Michael D. Higgins TD, former Minister for Arts, Culture & Gaeltacht, were among the other political tributes. Arts Council of Ireland chair Pat Moylan called it "a sad and shocking loss". Lally's screenwife Biddy aka Mary McEvoy said "Mick and I loved each other and we got on really well".
Lally's funeral took place in Dublin on 2 September 2010. It was said that the "nation has lost one of its favourite uncles". Personalities from TV, film, theatre and politics attended, while President of Ireland Mary McAleese sent a letter and Lally received a standing ovation at the end.
Personal lifeLally was married to a nurse, Peige, with whom he celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary the year before his death. Three children resulted: Saileog, Darach and Maghnus. Lally's parents were both alive when he died.
Lally was a fluent speaker of the Irish language, and his children study in Irish-speaking schools (gaelscoileanna). He appeared in several Irish language productions through-out his career, from Poitín in 1978, through to an appearance in the Irish language soap Ros na Rún in 2008.
He was a supporter of socialist causes, and canvassed for Socialist Party candidate Joe Higgins in the 1996 Dublin West by-election and the 1997 general election. Lally was an atheist who did not believe in an afterlife, and regarded religion as nonsense and "codology".
- The Secret of Kells (2009)
- Middletown (2006)
- Alexander (2004)
- The Halo Effect (2004)
- How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate (1997)
- Circle of Friends (1995)
- Scarlett (1994)
- The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
- A Man of No Importance (1994)
- Misteach Baile Ath Cliath (1994)
- Horse (1993)
- Fools of Fortune (1990)
- That's All Right (1989)
- Upon My Word (1989)
- The Fantasist (1986)
- Glenroe (1983)
- The Outcasts (1982)
- The Year of the French (1982)
- The Ballroom of Romance (1982)
- Our Boys (1981)
- Strumpet City (1980)
- Poitín (1978)
- Bracken (1978)
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