The internationally renowed theatre director Vincent Dowling, 83, has died.

He was associated with the Abbey Theatre from 1953 to 1990 working as an actor, director and artistic director.

Director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach MacConghail, paid tribute to Vincent saying: "Vincent Dowling had a broad theatrical career as actor, director and artistic director at the Abbey Theatre. In the early 1990s he played a pivotal role in touring internationally especially in the United States where he had settled.

"Vincent Dowling was an actor’s director – having been an actor himself he understood the craft of acting. I know he will be fondly remembered by many of the greats of Irish acting who worked with him. He was also a great business man and played an instrumental role in raising funds for the portico on the front of the Abbey Theatre building.

"In my memory he was brilliant with people. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and colleagues in the theatre community across the world."

Vincent had a major association with J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World throughout his career. In 1968 he played Christy Mahon. Later in 1990, he led a nation-wide tour of the United States with his critically acclaimed production of The Playboy of the Western World.

Dowling later directed an Emmy award-winning film version of the play for PBS TV in the United States.

He had been living in Massachusetts, US and is survived by his wife Olwen O'Herlihy Dowling, children and grandchildren.