A fan of the late actor Paul Newman made a generous donation to a Kildare camp that offers recreation programs for seriously ill children. The Hollywood star established the charity, based in Barretstown Castle, Co Kildare, 18 years ago.

Barretstown Camp, a charity in Co Kildare, has declined to name the person who left the $9 million (€7m) bequest, but the Sunday Independent said that it has determined from documents lodged in the Probate Office that "the legacy came from Elizabeth M Burke, the former owner of Stackallen Stud in Co Meath, who lived on Ailesbury Road, Dublin."

Burke, who died on October 20, 2011, left an estate valued at €12,309,728. She was well-known in Irish social and racing circles, and it is believed she also left over €500,000 to the Irish Georgian Society.

Maurice Pratt, the chairman of Barretstown Camp, said he couldn't comment on the individual because of the anonymity of the donation.

He did say: "This is a magnificent act of generosity and we cannot express our gratitude strongly enough.

"The board will ensure that this money is invested wisely.

"Currently, the annual running costs of Barretstown are almost €5m and the interest income from the bequest will be of great help in this regard."

It is believed Mrs Burke was an admirer of Paul Newman, whose films included classics such as 'Cool Hand Luke' and 'The Sting.'

The Barretstown Camp accommodates more than 2,000 children and their families across the camp's calendar which runs from April to November.