Niall Tóibín has died.
The actor and comedian passed away this morning in Dublin, aged 89, following a long illness. He is survived by his children Sean, Muireann, Aisling, Sighle and Fiana and his seven grandchildren.
Born in 1929 into an Irish speaking family, Tóibín grew up on Cork’s northside in Bishop’s Field and started acting in the 1950s, spending 14 years with the Radio Éireann Players.
He later built a TV and movie career that saw him perform in Ryan’s Daughter, Bracken, The Ballroom of Romance, The Irish R.M., Caught in a Free State, Ballykissangel, Far and Away, and Veronica Guerin.
“There is a palpable sense of sadness in Cork that one of our much loved sons, a proud Freeman of the City, has passed on.” said Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan.
“Níall Tóibín was an unforgettable presence both on and off the stage. His love of Cork, Ireland and Irish language and culture was renowned; that rich, resonant voice beloved by generations on both sides of the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean.”
‘I was blessed to be born in Cork’
Tóibín was honoured with The Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) lifetime achievement award in 2010 and the Freedom of Cork in 2015.
Receiving the local honour on stage, he said: “Cork to me is not just home, it’s heaven. I was blessed to be born in Cork to a mother from Kerry… she always reminded me I was a Corkman and had a right to be proud of that,”
“The freedom of one’s native city is a high and very special honour. When that city is Cork, it is difficult to retain one’s humility,” he added.
“What I’m trying to explain, like, is that you are proud of your own city. It’s only natural you should be proud of your own city. But if you come from anywhere else (than Cork), if you’re proud of your own city then you are only boasting.”
Details of a Book of Condolence will be announced shortly.
Here he is, for old time’s sake, with a joke for every Irish accent: