Michael was bringing it all back home for gala parade

Michael Fassbender had his own unique take on a traditional dance when he encountered Clodagh Irwin and members of the Irwin School of Dance at the parade.
Pictures: Valerie O’Sullivan

IT was the day that a little bit of Hollywood razzamatazz illuminated the St Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney but the A-list screen star at the centre of it all insisted he was just one of our own.

It has been 11 years since the brilliant Michael Fassbender, then aged 32, accepted an invitation to be grand marshal for the celebrations in the town he called home and to say he was a smash hit is somewhat of an understatement.

Michael Fassbender enjoying a chat with popular jarvey Michael Sweetman at the start of the parade

Fans located at every street corner and at every conceivable vantage point strained to get a selfie with or a smartphone images of the star as he was paraded through the streets in a ceremonial horse-drawn carriage expertly piloted by dapper jarvey Michael Sweetman who was attired in top hat and tails just for the occasion.

Accompanying the Fossa actor was then Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Michael Gleeson, who earlier in the day accorded a civic reception to the star of Hunger, 12 Years A Slave and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and Michael was accompanied for the occasion by his proud parents, Josef and Adele.

Micheál Eile: Michael sharing a joke with the then Mayor of Killarney Cllr Michael Gleeson on the review stand

Mayor Gleeson presented the gifted Killarney actor,a former pupil at Fossa National School and St Brendan’s College, with a pen made carved from Arbutus Killarney wood and a Killarney-crested tie.

On being invited to be grand marshal for the Killarney celebrations, a modest Michael declared: “I’m overwhelmed. It’s a great honour”.

He added: “It feels quite surreal but it’s very pleasant. There’s a general feeling of support of encouragement and lots of love – all the happy faces I see on the streets of Killarney.”