Pupils told to follow their dreams

When Hollywood pin-up Michael Fassbender strolled down the red carpet at the 2014 Oscars ceremony, it provided a shining example of what can be achieved when you follow your dreams, pupils at his alma mater in Killarney have been told.
Excitement was at fever pitch in St Brendan’s College, Killarney as students and teachers tuned in to watch the superstar past pupil mix it with the who’s who of the movie world at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
College principal Sean Coffey said Fassbender deserves whatever success comes his way as he always had great ambitions and worked very hard to achieve his goals in life.
Three of his former teachers, Mike Leahy, Mary O’Donoghue and Lou O’Flaherty, kept a special eye on proceedings in LA as their distinguished past pupil was nominated for a prestigious Academy Award for his role in 12 Years A Slave.
It was while he was a Leaving Cert pupil in St Brendan’s College in 1994/5 that Fassbender was first encouraged to join amateur local drama group, Bricriu, established by his classmate and friend Donie Courtney.
Courtney, now a drama producer and successful scriptwriter based in Dublin, is a son of Sheila and the late Michael Courtney. His father was a councillor in Killarney for several decades and his brother, Paddy, was elected the last mayor of the town before it was confirmed that the town councils were to be abolished.
Fassbender went on to star in a number of local drama, puppet theatre and panto productions in hotel lounges and upstairs rooms in pubs – including the former Rudy’a Nightclub and the Killarney Avenue Hotel – before he moved to the UK to study at the London Drama School and the Oxford Stage Company.
He progressed to become one of the world’s most in-demand character actors and won critical acclaim for his major roles in hit movies like Hunger, Shame, Inglorious Basterds and Prometheus.