Stage actor. Screen actor. Comedian. Star of one-man shows. Raconteur. Always unforgettable, Niall Tóibín has died in Dublin, just a few days short of his 90th birthday.

The Irish press on his passing:

The Irish Times: TRIBUTES paid to actor and comedian Niall Tóibín, who died aged 89. Stage and screen figure known for roles in Ryan’s Daughter, Bracken and Ballykissangel

The Irish Times: GALLERY: Niall Tóibín: 1929-2019–The death of the Cork actor and comedian Niall Toibin was announced today [Wednesday, November 13]. He was 89 years old.

RTÉ: Actor and comedian Niall Tóibín dies, aged 89

Receiving his IFTA Award in 2011

Niall and Gabriel

Niall Tóibín appeared in many films and television series, on stage in plays and in one-man shows, and he was a frequent guest on the Irish television talk shows. We know him from several projects in which he appeared with Gabriel, especially in the early years of Gabriel’s career.

Please note: I am no historian of Irish television or theater. This is what I have discovered from my own random and sometimes rushed research over the years.

They appeared together in Bracken on Irish TV in 1979-1980, with Niall playing the man out to get Gabriel’s farm. From Niall’s website: “In RTÉ’s television series Bracken, Niall Toibin and Gabriel Byrne played adversaries in their starring roles. Johnny Ryan writes, ‘these various schemes and subtle villainies make all the ploys and simple back stabbery of Melrose Place or Dynasty look like child’s play.’ ”

Niall and Gabriel battling it out in Bracken

During the same time period, they were both in the feature film about The Troubles, The Outsider which, rather amazingly, you can actually stream on Amazon Prime USA today! Sharp-eyed fans will note a certain “Gerard Flynn” in the cast list as well.

In 1984, Gabriel and Niall shared the screen in John Banville’s Reflections. And a decade later, Niall would pop up in Gabriel’s romantic drama Frankie Starlight (1995).

Gabriel and Niall at the table in Reflections.
With them is either Fionnula Flanagan
or Harriet Walter, I can’t tell. Can you?

It is absolutely possible that they worked together on other projects as well. I just have not found them yet.

Back when it was first released in 2009, I did note the documentary about Niall Tóibín called Seó Man and here is a short clip from it:

Rehearsing his signature role of Brendan Behan at the Gaiety Theater in Dublin, 2000.
With his hair darkened for the part, he looks like Gabriel, doesn’t he?

New documentary in 2019

RTÉ previously announced a new documentary on Niall Tóibín, which is due to air as part of the forthcoming Christmas schedule.

With exclusive access to rare family archive and countless excerpts from his TV shows, movies and stand-up performances, the documentary will offer a rare insight into one of Ireland’s greatest comical minds. It will feature interviews with all of Niall’s children, as well as Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne and Jim Sheridan.

Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ, said: “Niall Tóibín started acting in the 1950s and spent fourteen great years with the Radio Éireann Players. He became, ultimately, a familiar face on RTÉ to generations of Irish people. A proud Corkman, he was as at home in film as on the stage, and an especially entertaining guest on many Late Late Shows over the years. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Gabriel has worked with incredible talents over the years–actors and directors and writers–and it is always bittersweet to observe the passing of a film or television colleague, an artistic partner, a friend.

Oíche mhaith is Irish for good night.

Oíche mhaith, Niall.

Niall Tóibín
1929 – 2019

One Comment

  1. Rest in peace sir and thank you for many years of work.

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