BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 12 May, 1999, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Ballykissangel actor dies
The cast of Ballykissangel: Sweeney is on the far left, front row
Birdy Sweeney, one of the stars of the BBC One drama, Ballykissangel, has died in Dublin.

He was best known for his role as farmer Eamon Byrne in the series.

The 68-year-old star - who lived in Dungannon, Co Tyrone - died on Tuesday night in St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin.

Birdy Sweeney: Died in Dublin on Tuesday night
Sweeney starred in all four series of Ballykissangel and was working on the fifth which is currently being filmed in Co Wicklow.

The show's producer Chris Clough said: "Birdy was a much loved and well-respected member of the Ballykissangel cast and we'll all miss him terribly."

Robert Cooper, head of drama for BBC Northern Ireland, said: "Birdy was a man whose deadpan humour on screen belied the open warmth he constantly radiated off screen. It was a delight just knowing Birdy and an honour to work with him.

Sweeney began acting when he was in his fifties, spending much of his earlier life as a comic and bird impersonator.

He was first given his nickname when he made his debut mimicking blackbirds as an 11-year-old on BBC Radio Ulster.

In his acting career Sweeney appeared in The Crying Game, which won an Oscar for director Neil Jordan's screenplay, and the TV adaptation of Roddy Doyle's novel The Snapper.

He was also in a US movie version of Moll Flanders and recently the films The Butcher Boy and Divorcing Jack, alongside actor David Thewlis.

Sweeney had been working on a new series of Give My Head Peace for BBC Northern Ireland which was due to be broadcast in a few weeks.

He is survived by his wife Alice and eight children.

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories