herald

Friday 6 December 2019

One last ovation as much-loved actor Niall is laid to rest

Actor and comic Niall Toibin
Actor and comic Niall Toibin

An incredible talent, a genius of a man and, most importantly, a great person to know.

Tribute was paid to comedian and actor Niall Toibin at a packed funeral service in Mount Argus Church, Harold's Cross, where he received one final standing ovation.

The Corkman (89) died last Wednesday following a long illness and was laid to rest on a bitterly cold but sunny day on Dublin's southside.

Mourners

His cortege arrived at his local church just after noon, accompanied by his son Sean and daughters Muireann, Aisling, Sighle and Fiana.

The church also hosted the funeral of his wife Judy, who died 17 years ago.

Toibin, who appeared in everything from Ryan's Daughter to Ballykissangel, is also survived by his seven grandchildren.

Mourners yesterday included President Michael D Higgins and wife Sabina, alongside the Taoiseach's aide-de-camp Caroline Burke and Lord Mayor of Cork John Sheehan.

Fellow actors Aidan Gillen, Stephen Rea, Jon Kenny, Geraldine Plunkett and John Kavanagh and producer Noel Pearson also paid their respects.

Toibin's friend and parish priest Fr Brian D'Arcy officiated and remembered him fondly in a lengthy homily.

He referenced his astonishing acting talent, having made so many roles his own, most memorably playing Brendan Behan in Borstal Boy, which earned him a Tony Award.

The cortege arrives at the Church of St. Paul of the Cross
The cortege arrives at the Church of St. Paul of the Cross

He was also a wonderful person to know, with a great sense of humour, he told mourners.

Confession

He had a "great ability to play a priest" and should have become a member of the clergy himself.

"But I wouldn't have liked to have gone to confession with him," he added, which drew a laugh from the congregation.

Toibin's son Sean brought the mass to a close with an emotional eulogy in which he spoke of his parents' "pure, unadulterated love" and said his father had now gone to meet his mother.

Pall-bearers then carried his coffin out into the sunshine while mourners stood up and applauded.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina

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