NIALL TÓIBÍN has ‘cemented’ his reputation as one of the leading actors of his generation by adding his hand prints to the plaza outside the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin.
The Cork-born stage and screen star was yesterday invited by the Gaiety to have a clay mould taken of his hands. The imprints will be cast in bronze before being placed in the plaza in front of the theatre as a permanent feature.
Tóibín joins Anna Manahan and the late John B Keane and Maureen Potter as one of only four Irish theatre stars to be afforded the honour, Dublin’s answer to Hollywood’s Grauman Chinese Theatre.
“It will be a proud day for me. My appearances on the Gaiety stage are without doubt the highlights of my career and I am honoured to have been asked to give my prints,” said the former Ballykissangel star, who was joined by five of his six grandchildren to celebrate the event.
Tóibín said he was delighted to have his name associated with the Gaiety as he had performed his most famous role as Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy there in seven productions.
However, the event was also tinged with sadness as Tóibín glanced around the theatre bar at photographs of other actors who once graced the Gaiety stage.
“It’s very sad as so many are gone,” he observed.
But the evening was also an occasion for laughter as many of his friends and colleagues turned up to mark the occasion.
“He’s the image of Bush,” joked Glenroe star Donal Farmer, as Tóibín posed for photographers with clay-covered hands above his head in presidential style.
The 75-year-old actor has no plans for retirement and will be performing his latest show, An Evening with Niall Tóibín, at the Gaiety next September.
Gaiety managing director John Costigan said Tóibín had been chosen for the honour because his contribution to Irish theatre was “truly immense”.