A Celebration of the Life and Works of Ireland’s Late Great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibín @ Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London

On Saturday February 8th & 9th February 2020, The Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith London presents a celebration of the life and works Of  Ireland’s late great Theatre & Film Actor and Comedian, Niall Tóibín.

Niall Tóibín Ireland’s great actor and comedian passed away in November 2019. During his long career, spanning over six decades Tóibín appeared in more than 30 feature films. Among them, Ryan’s Daughter, Murphy’s Stroke, The Ballroom of Romance, Eat the Peach, Far and Away (in which he played opposite Tom Cruise), Veronica Guerin, Caught in a Free State, The Clinic and Bob Quinn’s’ ‘Poitin’.  As a stage actor the range of his work was vast and included unforgettable performances in Irish theatres as well as some of the most important theatres in London and New York. From Beckett, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill to embodying Brendan Behan in multiple productions at The Abbey and on Broadway. Niall Tóibín was capable of great intensity and complexity as an actor, but he was also hugely entertaining. His wicked glint of devilment, his gift for character observation and his ear for accents have seen his many ‘one- man shows’ garner praise by audiences all over the world. He did a great line in priests, from the formidable parish priest Fr Frank MacAnally in Ballykissangel, to the psychopathic Fr Geraldo in ‘Rat’ and the gentle cleric in ‘Brideshead Revisited’. He was hugely loved and respected by all who worked with him. Upon hearing about Niall’s death, the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins said “His contribution to Irish theatre was a unique one, in both the Irish Language and English. The depth of interpretation that he brought to a wide variety of characters showed a very deep intellectual understanding and, above all, sensitivity to the nuance of Irish life. To the latter he brought a distinctive voice which made him a much-loved interpreter of Irish life and its challenges’.

In order to honour and pay tribute to Niall Tóibín, The Irish Cultural Centre London presents this unique season of films which brings to the screen some of Niall’s most magical and most powerful performances.  As part of the season the ICC will present the UK Premiere of the documentary ‘Niall Tóibín – Everyman’. There will be a Q&A with the director of the film Brian Reddin. We will also have rare screenings of ‘Eat the Peach’, ’Murphy’s Stroke’ ‘A Pint with Brendan Behan’ and Bob Quinn’s ‘Poitín’. There will also be a special gathering of some of Niall’s friends, colleagues and members of his family, who will share remembrances and anecdotes about his extraordinary career.

See the full programme below:

Saturday February 8th     


‘Murphy’s Stroke’ (Feature Film / Drama) Directed by Frank Cvitanovich

To launch this special tribute weekend The Irish Cultural Centre presents a Free Screening of this acclaimed, entertaining and much-loved feature film starring Niall Tóibín.   A businessman concocts a horse racing scam that involves passing off an inexperienced horse as a race winner to rig the betting odds. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Niall Tóibín and Tony Doyle.



Poitín (A Film/ Drama, in the Irish Language.)  

Directed by Bob Quinn.  Written by Colm Bairéad.  To pay tribute to Tóibín’s love for the Irish language, the ICC presents this special film which was in fact the very first feature film ever made in The Irish Language

Produced by Cinegael.    

A sometimes hilarious, but fundamentally grim  story about two poteen agents, Labhrás (Donal McCann) and Sleamhnan (Niall Tóibín), who steal their confiscated goods back from the Gardaí and cheat  their elderly poteen-maker, Micíl (Cyril Cusack) out  of his share of the money. Poitín made history in Connemara as the first feature film ever to be made in the Irish Language. Set against a desolate background Quinn’s raw and grim depiction of Irish rural life and living generated outrage when it was first screened in 1979. Images of stupidity and cruelty dominate this defiantly unsentimental film that, even today, retains its power to act as a riposte to idealisations of Ireland.

 Tickets £8.00 (65 mins) Ireland 1979:    


UK Premiere:  Niall Tóibín – EVERYMAN – (Documentary)  

Directed by Brain Reddin.  Dearg Films (2019)

Ireland’s great actor and comedian Niall Tóibín passed away on 13th November 2019, just eight days shy of his 90th birthday. This documentary celebrates his long life and career which spanned seven decades, entertaining us with characters and stories. 

In this intimate and often hilarious documentary, Niall’s daughters begin the task of documenting and archiving the huge collection of movie and theatrical memorabilia which Niall had collected over his long career. As they look back over these memories, the documentary celebrates Niall’s life and career, through a series of talking heads from fans and colleagues. What emerges is a poignant and funny story of a man who has managed to excel in every field of Irish entertainment . The film gives an insight into what made him so popular and a look at the lasting legacy he left behind. The film includes interviews with Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Rea and Jim Sheridan. 

This Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the Film Director Brian Reddin

Tickets £8.00 (60 mins) Ireland 2019. 

DAY 2 

Sunday February 9th  


‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ – Directed by Bergette Pierre – Produced by Godfrey Graham

 ‘A Jar with Brendan Behan’ is a one man show from 1970 starring Niall Tóibín as Brendan Behan. Tóibín was known for his portrayal of Behan, starring in ‘Borstal Boy’ many times in The Abbey Theatre and on Broadway for which he won a Tony Award for his portrayal.  This is a rare chance to see this wonderful one man show from 1970 where Niall Tóibín plays Brendan Behan, as only he can.

Tickets £8.00 Length 1 hr



A Gathering of Some Friends and Colleagues of Niall Tóibin – ‘Remembering Tóibín The Man’ 

We are gathering friends and colleagues and some members of Niall’s family, among them his daughter Sighle.  This event is currently in planning –If anyone has a memory or story to share about Niall, please do get in touch and we will see if it can be included; 

Contact Rosalind Scanlon – Programmer@Irishculturalcentre.co.uk                                      – Free Event. 



‘Eat the Peach’ Directed by Peter Ormrod.  (Samson Films) Feature film / Drama

In 1984, inspired by Elvis Presley’s motorcycle antics in the film Roustabout and a visit to Dublin’s Funderland, two unemployed Irish brothers-in-law built a 40-foot cylindrical Wall of Death in their backyard.  RTÉ News reporter Peter Ormrod covered their story and was so enthralled that he decided to make a feature film about it. ‘Eat the Peach’ is a wryly comic tale of eccentricity and determination set in an Ireland of high unemployment and emigration. It is populated by entirely likeable and textured characters: the dreamers, Vinny (Stephen Brennan) and Arthur (Eamon Morrissey); longsuffering wife, Nora (Catherine Byrne); and the fake-American, Boots (Niall Tóibín). 

‘Eat the Peach’ was voted as ‘one of the top 50 Irish films you must see’. The Irish Independent. 

Starts 7.30pm Tickets £8.00 (93 MINS,) IRELAND, 1986, 


This Special Tribute to Niall Tóibín has been curated by Sé Merry Doyle (Loopline Films) and Rosalind Scanlon – (For Irish Cultural Centre.)


Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith Blacks Road W6 9DT

Book Tickets;  www.Irishculturalcentre.co.uk    020 85638232



Niall Tóibín receives IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Film & Television Academy’s annual ‘Life on Screen’ IFTA Tribute


Veteran Irish actor and comedian Niall Tóibín received the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Film & Television Academy’s annual ‘Life on Screen’ IFTA Tribute, tonight, Thursday, 3rd November, 2011 at Dublin’s IFI. This very special IFTA event celebrated and acknowledged the 81 year-old Irish actor’s lifetime contribution to the screen arts.

Irish broadcaster and IFTA Lifetime Member Gay Byrne hosted an intimate ‘In Conversation With…’ Niall in front of a live audience comprised of Irish Film & Television Academy Members; a host of familiar faces from the world of Irish film and television; and Niall’s family, friends and former colleagues from the stage and screen. Leading the audience tributes to the Irish actor was Michael D. Higgins (Ireland’s President elect) who attended the event to pay homage to his long-time friend Tóibín.

Speaking about the event, IFTA Chief Executive Áine Moriarty said: ‘The Academy is delighted to honour and celebrate the unique and extraordinary talent of Niall Tóibín who is one of the finest actors and comedians of his generation.’

Speaking about receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award from IFTA, true to form the actor joked ‘What kept ye?!’ adding with that familiar twinkle in his eye, ‘I am delighted that my colleagues and the many talented people within this industry have finally come to their senses and realised it was time to recognise my genius!’

Niall Tóibín is now an honourary Lifetime Member of IFTA and joins prominent industry talents such as Maureen O’Hara, Pierce Brosnan, Gay Byrne, George Morrison and John Boorman in becoming Lifetime Members of the Irish Academy. In 2010, the IFTA Tribute Award was presented to the late Cathal O’Shannon.

Invited guests of the Academy who attended the IFTA celebrations ‘tipping the hat’ to the legendary Tóibín included: Irish actors Stephen Rea, Gerard McSorley; Brenda Fricker, who worked with Niall on Ballroom of Romance (1982); Fair City star Eamon Morrissey; his Ballykissangel co-star Don Wycherley; and long-time friend Frank Kelly reminisced about his time working with Niall during the 1980’s at the Abbey Theatre saying ‘I have always considered Niall to be one of the greatest all round talents in Irish entertainment of his generation, and many others for that matter. We are lucky to have him.’

Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh posed a question to the master of accents and multi-lingual Tóibín as-gaeilge and she was joined by fellow Irish broadcasters Bosco Hogan, Anna Daly, and Lorraine Keane in paying tribute to the actor.

Other guests included a range of Members of the Irish Film & Television Academy; musician Brendan Balfe, Cork’s Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald and filmmakers Noel Pearson, John McColgan, Louis Marcus, Bill Hughes, who described Niall as ‘the Master of his craft’, Éamon de Buitléar, Joan Bergin and writer Ulick O’Connor.

In addition, ahead of Niall’s ‘Life on Screen’ IFTA Tribute, warm congratulatory messages have poured in from the Irish film and television industry wishing him well and paying tribute to his outstanding contribution to Ireland’s film and television industry.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan said:

‘As Minister with responsibility for the Arts, I want to congratulate Niall on receiving this plaudit from IFTA. Whether it was on stage, TV or indeed on the airways Niall Tóibín has always entertained his audiences both at home and abroad. It is particularly fitting that he be recognised by his peers in this way. On a personal note, I know that Niall Tóibín was a very good friend of the late John B. Keane and to hear them in conversation together was a unique experience of which I have very fond memories. Guím gach rath ar Niall agus a chlann don todhchaí.’

Irish actor Colin Farrell, who first encountered Tóibín on the set of TV drama Ballykissangel said:

‘Niall is a tower house of talent and wit having met him first at a script read through for Ballykissangel. He’s done a lot to promote our cultural sense of selves through his creative output.’

Irish actress Victoria Smurfit, talking about their very first scene together in Ballykissangel said:

“’Hello Sir”, I said. “Morning” he grunted. My head went down. “I’m dead” I thought.

‘The rain got heavier. Niall pulled me under his umbrella and said something about being professional enough not to soak your costume. I looked at him, he was twinkling. Not so much as to let everyone know he was a delight. He’s not going to give that sparkle away for free. Just enough grin, so once in his proximity you knew you were with a large hearted gent. He guided us through the scene effortlessly. Talent, charisma, knowledge and a reputation to make all around him tow that line. He is too young to be a legend but that is what Niall Tóibín is.’

Irish actor John Kavanagh said:

‘My first encounter with Niall was in Borstal Boy at the Abbey Theatre in 1968. What an amazing actor, I and the rest of the young actors were spellbound by his stunning performance as Brendan Behan. It was a privilege and honour to share a stage with him. He is a storyteller second to none, funny, sharp and a truly nice and decent man.’

Actor and star of Ballykissangel Stephen Tompkinson said:

‘As a relative stranger to Ireland at the time we filmed Ballykissangel, I could not have wished for a better guide than Niall; whose remarkable talent for accents and encyclopaedic memory for jokes and stories gave me a one man tour of the country and made me feel more than welcome. A wonderful actor – with a perfect economy of truth and instinct for comedy second to none. I treasure our time together as a real privilege.’

Irish broadcaster and Corkman John Creedon said:

”You can always tell a Corkman… but you can’t tell him much… and Niall Tóibín is living proof.’

‘I grew up amongst the talkers of Cork’s north inner city in the shadow of two steeples… Shandon and Niall Tobin. We played his live in concert LP so much the needle wore out, but not before I had memorised every brilliant sketch. He was fearless in his commentary and never stooped to false flattery. Years later we were introduced at a time when I was starting out with my comic character ‘Terence’, Tóibín turned to me, looked out menacingly from under an eyebrow like a corner-boy and said ‘You’re doin good kid … doin’ good.’ Those words from my hero have sustained me on many a bad day since, so twenty five years later I’d just like to take this opportunity to say “Thanks kid … you’ve done pretty good yourself.’”