PROMOTIONAL EFFORTS: Fassbender’s promotion of the Rally of the Lakes and Killarney is unmeasurable and it was down to Cormac Casey of KC Print and the 2019 Clerk of the Course Dermot Healy.

By Sean Moriarty

A new online documentary by local Hollywood A-lister Michael Fassbender has put the town of Killarney and local motorsport on the world map – and it all started in the offices of KC Print.

The Killarney-based company is Ireland’s largest trade printer and its managing director, Cormac Casey, is the son of the Killarney Advertiser’s late founder Danny.

Early last year Cormac was looking for ways of promoting the town and its motorsport heritage on the 40th anniversary of the cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes.

In his role as part of the event’s coordination team, he wanted to do something big to mark the occasion. Fassbender was already making waves as a racing driver in America and Cormac wanted to find a way to bring the town’s most-famous son and its biggest early summer event together.

He invited Fassbender to act as the rally’s ambassador and the Fossa man jumped at the opportunity.

Dermot Healy, the 2019 Clerk of the Course, backed the project and worked closely with Motorsport Ireland to create a ‘Lakes RallyFest’ event to facilitate Fassbender’s participation.

Cormac set about finding a suitable car and pulling together a team of rally mechanics to run the chosen Ford Escort Mk2 over the weekend. The project was independently funded through the support of the Killarney Advertiser, Dermot Healy Motors, Portwest, Irish Health Foods, and MIS Insurance.

In return, not only did Fassbender act as the best ambassador the county’s biggest motorsport event has ever seen, school road safety trips and town centre meet-and-greet sessions are examples of the hard work he put in, and he also produced a high-quality documentary on the event.

This was on top of unprecedented media attention Fassbender’s participation in the rally attracted. Major national daily newspapers, radio stations and TV channels gave coverage to the rally and its star driver.

The biggest of all was Fassbender’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show a few weeks after the rally where he spoke of the event and his home town to a worldwide audience of millions.

One year on, part-one of a three-part documentary series made its debut on Tuesday evening on social media channel VERO.

The six-minute programme, its length purposely mastered for an online audience, has been going viral since it aired.

The programme shows Killarney’s beauty at its best and also captures the thrill and excitement of rallying.

It is the perfect advertisement for both the town and the rally, especially this year when the Coronavirus conspired against the 41st running of the rally, as the show-reel captures what rally fans and the town were missing over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

The show has reached millions of viewers worldwide and was even picked up by RTÉ’s Six-One main evening news bulletin on Wednesday evening.

“This was not a case of Hollywood coming to Killarney, this was Killarney going to Hollywood,” a justifiably proud Cormac Casey told the Killarney Advertiser. “People questioned the value of what we were trying to do last year, but the rewards, as we have seen this week, go far beyond my expectations.”

In another coup for the KC Print Group, the Killarney Advertiser was the first print or online media organisation anywhere in the world to reveal in last week’s issue, that the documentary was to be released.

Turn to our Motoring section on page 31 for a full review of the film.