Saturday 27 December 2014

Bono, Farrell pay respects at funeral of Gerry Ryan's 'stoical' mother

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 29/12/2006 | 00:11

FOR Gerry Ryan and his brothers, Mike and Vincent, their mother Maureen's love was a blessing. And yesterday the RTE star paid a heartfelt tribute to her at her packed funeral. From the altar, he spoke lovingly of the "beautiful, deep, emotional, theatrical, spectacular and incandescent spirit" of his mother.

FOR Gerry Ryan and his brothers, Mike and Vincent, their mother Maureen's love was a blessing.

And yesterday the RTE star paid a heartfelt tribute to her at her packed funeral.

From the altar, he spoke lovingly of the "beautiful, deep, emotional, theatrical, spectacular and incandescent spirit" of his mother. He also talked about the "theatricality" of her life.

"It is good to see that Maureen has managed a full house," said the 2FM DJ. "The drama of the ceremony and drama of her leavetaking of this life was entirely in keeping with this woman. She was literally a drama from one end of the day to the other.

"The very fact she could not choose Wednesday in the middle of winter or Thursday in the middle of summer, but Christmas morning was full testimony of that."

Bono and Colin Farrell were among the mourners at the funeral in Clontarf on Dublin's northside. The U2 singer arrived with wife Ali, manager Paul McGuinness and friend Gavin Friday to pay his final respects.

He stood at the back of the packed St John the Baptist church on the seafront, not far behind Farrell.

The 'Miami Vice' star sat in a pew with his sister Claudine and public relations agent Joanne Byrne.

Their presence and that of many other well-known faces from the world of entertainment - including John McColgan, Marty Whelan, Ian Dempsey, Joe Duffy, Shay Healy and Eileen Dunne - was a fitting tribute to Maureen Ryan, who had showbusiness in her blood.

The mother-of-three was a member of the well-known theatrical family, the Bourkes, who ran a costumier business in Dublin. Her sister Grainne was married to Eamonn Andrews.

Gerry Ryan said his mother was not a pious woman but a deeply religious one. "Her theatricality was written through her," he said. "She probably believed at her death that the entire host of heavenly saints, Jesus and God and everybody else, was at the end of the bed."

He spoke of how she had "carved a position" for herself among her influential family during an era when women were "still in bondage to men". She gave advice on direction, as well as providing props and sometimes taking to the stage herself as her family travelled among small communities.

He remembered how "there was nothing like" a dinner party in the Ryan household when he was growing up. They were highly glamorous affairs, and perfumed women would come into his bedroom to say goodnight when he was a child. "They were extraordinary creatures in an Ireland that was essentially a dark, grey, place."

He said his mother was hugely supportive of those who were "cursed" with the "performance disease", including his eldest daughter Charlotte.

The RTE star also revealed how he had believed his mother would not live long after his father Vincent, who was the "love of her life", died in 2001 from prostate cancer.

"When we lost my father, I imagined she would fall to pieces and follow him soon after that. Nothing was further from the truth. She was privately tearful, but publicly strong, stoic and philosophical.

"It was an enormous comfort to be faced with a woman we thought would fall apart."

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