Mick Lally one of Ireland’s best-known actors, has died. He was a founder of the Druid Theater and best known  to Irish television audiences as Miley Byrne in  the long running series ‘Glenroe’ and in the BBC hit series ‘Ballykissangel’. He was aged 64.

Lally’s other roles included voice work on the Oscar nominated feature animation, ‘The Secret of Kells’ as Brother Aidan and roles  in ‘Circle of Friends’ and ‘Alexander’.

He was born in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, and began his career as a schoolteacher  before moving to acting.He became a founder member of the world acclaimed Druid Theatre Company with Garry Hynes and Marie Mullen In 1979.

He was a fluent Irish speaker and a strong  supporter of the language, appearing in the Irish language series ‘Ros na Rún’..

Mary Hanafin TD Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport extended her heartfelt sympathy on the death of Mick Lally, to his wife Peggy and their children saying: “Mick Lally’s contribution to the theatrical world has been immense. Whether he was voicing Keane, Synge or indeed Burrows, his was a distinctive, inimitable contribution to our stage and screen craft. His wonderful ability to communicate with his audiences whether in the intimate setting in the early days of Druid, on stage in the National Theatre or in the sitting rooms of homes every Sunday for over 10 years playing the character of Miley in 'Glenroe', Mick Lally was an integral part of the world of acting and, by extension, our society.

"His rich distinctive tones were at home too in the Irish language and theatre goers from the Abbey to the Taibhdhearc will have wonderful memories of the man from Tourmakeady. A testimony to his prowess as an actor was that he could resonate across the generations – with the theatre community, the television and film world and, with very notable success, with the young generation of 'The Secret of Kells', this year’s Oscar nominee. Mick was a versatile actor and although associated forever with Miley, was never one to be typecast.

"I know that the theatrical world is in deep mourning today, and that his loss is enormous not just for his wife Peggy, their children Saileog, Darach and Maghnus and extended family but also for the community of artists who tread the boards and for whom Mick Lally was an iconic role model."