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Game of Thrones star in mourning as she prepares to lay father to rest in Coleraine


Michelle Fairley

Michelle Fairley

Getty Images

Her late father

Her late father

Michelle Fairley

Game Of Thrones star Michelle Fairley is mourning her father, who was one of Northern Ireland's best known publicans.

Her 85-year-old dad Brian was the former owner of Fairley's bar in Coleraine's Society Street, as well as a number of off licences.

The 54-year-old actress has built up a huge worldwide fan base after playing the part of Catelyn Stark, wife and later widow of the leader of the North, Ned Stark.

Some reviewers acclaimed her performances as the best of the series.

She's currently giving what one critic described as a "turbo-charged performance" in the male role of Cassius in a modern dress version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre in London.

The second oldest of six children, she was a youthful acting contemporary of fellow Game Of Thrones star Conleth Hill, who is from Ballycastle.

Her mother Teresa was a nurse before raising her three sons and three daughters.

Michelle is famously protective of her privacy.

But in a rare interview with the Daily Telegraph in 2015 she said that she learnt from her parents a "very strong work ethic, a respect for others, and to be truthful, to be honest, and to know that you are no better than anybody else".

Alluding to the Troubles, the actress said her family had run a business "when the time wasn't easy".

"But their pub and their premises were always mixed - Catholic and Protestant," she said, adding that she had been born Catholic but no longer practised.

Nine years ago she portrayed George Best's mother Ann in the BBC drama Best: His Mother's Son.

Michelle, who has been based in London since 1986, has had a stellar career on stage as well as on screen in American TV series including 24 and Suits.

She got rave reviews for her stand-out performance in Brian Friel's Dancing At Lughnasa at the Old Vic, and in Oleanna by David Mamet at the Royal Court Theatre.

She was cast in Game Of Thrones after the writers saw her play Iago's wife Emilia in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse in 2008, a role for which she received an Olivier award nomination.

The actress is on record as saying she prefers working in the theatre.

She also said she hated Hollywood.

She played Muggle dentist Mrs Granger in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final film in the popular series.

Mr Fairley will be buried today following Requiem Mass at St Malachy's Church in Coleraine.

Belfast Telegraph