Ursuline past pupil Jessie Buckley was ‘always set for stardom’ says school principal

Niamh Dillon


Niamh Dillon



Jessie Buckley nominated for two British Independent Film Awards

Former Ursuline student Jessie Buckley has been nominated for a British Film Award for her performance in the 2018 film Beast

She may have earned a host of nominations at this year’s British Independent Film Awards but Jessie Buckley's path to stardom was clear even in her teens, says her former secondary school musical director.

“She was always incredibly hard working and there was a special quality about her on stage. She had that X Factor,” says Ursuline principal Mary Butler, who directed Buckley in three school productions while a student in Thurles.

Last week it was announced that the 29-year-old actress had won two BIFA nominations for her first leading role in Michael Pearce's feature film Beast. Upon its release earlier this year Buckley's performance as the complex heroine earned her a slew of rave reviews with some critics hailing it as the standout performance of the year.

Before the big screen came calling the talented Kerry native was enrolled at the Ursuline Secondary School, where her mother Marina taught music.

READ MORE: Former Thurles student Jessie Buckley is taking on the big screen

From a young age Buckley's natural talent and star power on stage were evident, with the teenager taking on leading roles in musicals West Side Story, Children of Eden and Chess.

“I've been following Jessie’s career closely and I thought she was simply wonderful in the Woman in White TV series and the BBC's War and Peace. She was always destined for great things,” Ms Butler told the Tipperary Star.

While at the Ursuline Buckley was also a member of the Tipperary Millennium Orchestra. Buckley, who famously made it through to the final of the BBC talent show I’d Do Anything in 2008, went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before graduating in 2013.

After college she quickly landed roles at the West End and Shakespeare's Globe theatre alongside Hollywood heavyweight Jude Law however it was her standout performance in the BBC's new dramatisation of War and Peace that saw her career reach new heights.

In 2017 she was listed as one of Screen Internationals ‘Stars of Tomorrow' cementing her status as one to watch among previous selectee's including Great Gatsby star Carey Mulligan and Benedict Cumberbatch.

“We are incredibly proud of Jessie in the Ursuline and she is a real example of what you can achieve with hard work and determination,” added Ms Butler.

The winners of the 2018 BIFA will be announced at a ceremony in London on December 2.