Barry O'Hanlon

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Barry O'Hanlon
Fair City character
First appearance 18 September 1989
Last appearance 18 September 2011
Portrayed by Pat Nolan
Occupation Journalist, teacher, barman
Family Linda, Mary

Barry O'Hanlon is a fictional character who appears in the TV show Fair City. He is one of the show's original characters, having first appeared in 1989.[1] This character is played by Pat Nolan, who won a Golden Rose Award, in the "Best Soap Actor" category, at the international Rose d'Or Festival in Switzerland in May 2005.[2] He is usually a nice guy but a little bit downtrodden.[3] O'Hanlon has been summarised as "the unlucky in love ex-teacher who now runs the local paper and used to be involved with Niamh before Paul swept her off her feet (that's only the half of it)".[4]

O'Hanlon was the editor of the local newspaper, The Northside Post, until it was sold. He then became a barman. He left Fair City in 2011 after being locked up for committing a murder.

He had been liked by old ladies.[5]


O'Hanlon began his career as a teacher at the local secondary school. Niamh Cassidy, a student in his class, was infatuated with him and they had a passionate clinch. When Niamh stated that O'Hanlon had seduced her, he nearly lost his job, but she eventually told the truth. Later on, Niamh and O'Hanlon got engaged. Derek kidnapped her and O'Hanlon rescued her, but as the wedding day was approaching, Niamh started to have second thoughts and she realised that she was in love with Paul Brennan instead, who was O'Hanlon's best friend. The wedding was called off, but Niamh initially decided to stay in a relationship with him. However, later she broke up with him in public and continued her affair with Brennan.

When O'Hanlon found out about the affair, he began a downward spiral and spent Christmas at home drinking and feeling depressed. Niamh and Brennan were shocked to see him like this arr and confronted him. After that O'Hanlon decided to get on with his life, so he returned to his job and soon became a dedicated principal.

When he met Sorcha Byrne, he began a relationship with her. Unfortunately for him, Sorcha had an affair with Ross O'Rourke, a 19-year-old Leaving Cert repeat student. Although O'Hanlon tried to reconcile with her, when the other teachers found out about the affair, it was too much for O'Hanlon and he once again was overcome by depression. He lost his principal status and Kieran took over his position. O'Hanlon suffered a breakdown and spent months in a psychiatric ward. Eventually, he recovered from his illness. While there, he encountered an old flame, Annette, a local solicitor. Although both of them were psychologically fragile, they began a relationship which was contrary to medical advice.

Annette offered the now unemployed O'Hanlon work at her legal practise, where he was to work as a secretary. However, his lack of legal expertise was a source of annoyance for the other solicitors working with Annette. Under their pressure, O'Hanlon had to leave his job there. However, he quickly found a position as an investigative journalist.

When O'Hanlon published an article on the rape in the local newspaper, Dominic Kavanagh informed him that his daughter was the girl who was raped. At this time, Detective Byrne began giving O'Hanlon information. He applied for the position of editor and was given the job. O'Hanlon interviewed Dermot Fahey about the recent attacks. When the identity of the rapist was revealed to be Tibbs, Detective Byrne told O'Hanlon about this. He questioned Kavanagh about assaulting Tibbs, who shrugged it off. Byrne explained that Tibbs was linked with the previous assaults, but he was certain that a vigilante is still on the loose. O'Hanlon was planning on investigating this matter further, but Ken Fahey convinced him not to.

When Cleo Cullen was being bullied at school, she wanted to drop out of school. Her foster mother Dolores spoke to O'Hanlon about this and he managed to convince her to go back to school. Cleo thanked him for helping her on her road to becoming a chef. She made dinner for O'Hanlon, her mother and her boyfriend Pierce as a thank you.

In 2008, O'Hanlon became employed at the local newspaper owned by Seamus McAleer. Little did he know that he was being used to sabotage the project going on in the school he used to be principal of. He also proposed to Annette and she accepted.

He was wrongfully accused of paedophilia.[3]

In 2011, O'Hanlon became involved in a murder storyline.[6] He accidentally murdered his friend Sarah and, witnesed by resident thug Denzo, the pair contrived a plan to dump the corpse.[3] He was eventually caught and locked up in jail and left Fair City. He was not killed off, leaving the door open for a return.[1]


  1. ^ a b "'Fair City's Barry O'Hanlon actor Pat Nolan to leave show". Digital Spy. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Fair City's Pat Nolan wins Best Soap Actor Award". RTÉ. 7 May 2005. Retrieved 23 March 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c Fogarty, Mary (24 August 2011). "Pat relishing being Fair City's bad boy". Wicklow People. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Hogan, Yvonne (11 July 2009). "All's Fair in love and war". Irish Independent. Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "My pint in the Fair City local ...". Irish Independent. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 27 October 2004. And what about Pat Nolan? Given the solid and dependable nature of his character (prior to going off the rails), not too many pints get thrown in his direction. "People call me Barry. Some actors get very pissed off with that but what do you expect when you're going into people's homes four nights a week? "I'm big with grannies and old ladies," he laughs. "I think he [Barry] has that kind of 'quality', can we say, that old ladies like. I think up until this point he was safe, the type you wouldn't mind your daughter taking home but I think that's going to change. "He's heading towards a breakdown, but there's other stuff along the way as well." 
  6. ^ "Fair City". RTÉ. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 

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