Actor and comic Niall Toibin awarded Freedom of Cork

Star says he was blessed to be born in Cork and has always been proud of native city

Actor and comedian Niall Tóibín has been awarded the Freedom of Cork in recognition of his film, television and stage work.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mary Shields told several hundred guests at Cork City Hall the honour was being bestowed on Tóibín (85) in recognition of his work locally, nationally and internationally.

“Niall is a quintessential Corkman, possessing that unique Cork DNA which outsiders find impenetrable and whose features include ability, confidence, humour, accent, dialect, independence and of course, modesty.

“The man we are honouring is truly remarkable: a stage and film actor of international repute, an author and a trailblazing comic. We have been enriched, amused, provoked and stimulated by his life’s work.”


Tóibín responded: “It is my great great pleasure to hear myself lauded by my fellow countrymen . . . Cork to me is not just home. Cork to me is, in many ways, heaven.”

Born on Friar’s Walk on the city’s south side, he grew up at Bishop’ s Field on the north side.

“I was blessed with a thing for mimicry which masked the fact that what I was doing wasn’t actually acting, but acting the eejit,” he said.

“The freedom of one’s native city is a high and very special honour and when that city is Cork, it is difficult to retain one’s humility.”

He joins a distinguished list of recipients of the Freedom of Cork including John F Kennedy, Roy Keane, Sonia O'Sullivan and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times