A planning application has been received by Kerry County Council for permission for "an acting school" at the historic Fassbender family-owned 'West End House' in Killarney town centre. 

The name - appropriate for an acting school - predates the Fassbenders.

The application is in the name of Dromin Ltd/Josef Fassbender, of Dromin, Fossa, Killarney the father of actor Michael Fassbender.

A protected structure, West End House is a historic building in Lower New Street.

Josef Fassbender, a German chef, and his Antrim-born wife Adele ran the building as a restaurant/guest house for many years, with actor son Michael and his sister, Catherine, now a neuropsychologist, helping out.

The Fassbenders had moved from Heidelberg - where Michael was born - to Fossa, in 1979. It has strong connections with southern Germany.

Michael and his sister grew up in Fossa and went to the local school. The actor has said that he developed his taste for acting in St Brendan's Secondary School in Killarney.

Now living in Portugal, with his actress wife Alicia Vikander, he keeps in close contact with Killarney and his many friends there. Michael has visited his old school and enthusiastically follows the local car rally of the lakes.

As well as leading the town's annual St Patrick's Parade, the actor has been honoured at several civic receptions and received the town's highest accolade: the Order of Innisfallen.  

In more recent years, West End House has been leased to a Polish family as a beauty and hairdressing business named 'Desire' which is now closed due to the pandemic.

The 19th century building was established as a school of cookery and housewifery by Lord Kenmare who developed the town's budding tourist industry, training young women for the burgeoning hotel industry, as well as for work in the big houses of Cork and Kerry.

Killarney has a long association with dramatic acting and the 1936 film The Dawn - a sensation when it was released - was devised, acted and filmed locally.

Before that, the Kalem Film Company had located a studio there and set up in nearby Beaufort.

The council said it is currently validating the West End House planning application, which it received last week. The permission sought is for change of use from a restaurant and beauty salon to an acting school.