Young Cois Fharraige man looks for lucky break in New York’s acting circle

A young Indreabhán actor is hoping or a lucky break in New York and is auditioning for top US TV shows such as the HBO hit Boardwalk Empire.

Dónall Ó Héalaí was born in Indreabhán where he grew up speaking Irish as his first language. He began acting with the local youth club when he was 14, and continued with it through secondary school in St Jarlath’s.

His first television appearance was in the TG4 teenage drama series Aifric, where he starred in the role of the school hunk, Jeaic Wallace. Following Aifric, Dónall appeared as a guest presenter on the Síle show and in other Irish speaking television shows such as Seacht and TG4’s latest hard-hitting crime drama series Corp agus Anam. But in addition to his career in television, live theatre has also been a prominent part of Dónall’s acting career, and he has played one of the leading roles in the Taibhdhearc's production of Mícheál Ó Conghaile's Jude.

Dónall’s achievements in Ireland have now generated interest and recognition across the pond. New York has a surprisingly large Irish theatrical and Gaelic speaking community nurtured by the efforts of remarkable cultural organisations such as The Irish Arts Center in Manhattan and the New York Irish Centre in Queens. This presents an ideal platform for Ireland’s leading Gaelic speaking performer to cut his teeth on the Off-Broadway stages.

He recognises that acting is not an easy profession to pursue in New York, something brought home to him recently when he observed over 500 actors competing for the one part in the HBO's show Boardwalk Empire.

However, this young Irish star will not allow the obvious challenges to put him off. “To get noticed in a city like New York” he says, “all you need is one lucky break.” He has been invited to present some Irish-language and theatre classes in the Big Apple, which he is very excited about. Ultimately, his goal is to promote the Irish language through acting as he believes that one of the best ways to bring Gaelic to life is using the dynamic medium of theatre and live performance.



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