Sunday 25 June 2017

Emotional Flatley pays a poignant tribute to 'greatest mother in world'

Michael Flatley arrives at St Moling’s Church, Co Carlow, with his wife Niamh, son Michael
Junior, and brother Patrick (rear right) for the funeral mass of Michael’s mother, Elizabeth. Photo: Frank McGrath
Michael Flatley arrives at St Moling’s Church, Co Carlow, with his wife Niamh, son Michael Junior, and brother Patrick (rear right) for the funeral mass of Michael’s mother, Elizabeth. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley paid an emotional tribute to his mother - crediting his global success to her staunch love and support.

In a moving funeral eulogy, Elizabeth 'Eilish' Flatley (81) was said to have helped transform Irish dance into an art form that is enjoyed worldwide.

The family said that, having buried her love of 60 years, husband Michael James Flatley (88) in 2015, she was "back in his arms which is the place dad would have wanted her to be".

"I know everybody says this - but our mother really was the greatest mother in the world," the dancer said.

The dancer's sister, Annie, said her mother instantly recognised Michael's huge dance potential.

"Mom recognised Michael's talent very early on and they worked together to make Irish dancing what it is today - an art form that is recognised the world over," she said.

Michael’s sisters, Annie and Liza. Photo: Frank McGrath
Michael’s sisters, Annie and Liza. Photo: Frank McGrath

"You could take Elizabeth Ryan Flatley out of Ireland but you could never take Ireland out of her."

Read more: 'Mom worked with Michael to make Irish dancing what it is today' - Michael Flatley's mum Eilish laid to rest

She said her mother had now "come home" to Carlow to be laid to rest in the arms of the man she loved for over 60 years.

"Theirs was a love affair like no other."

Hundreds gathered at the scenic Church of St Moling in Glynn-St Mullins on the Carlow-Wexford border to pay their respects to the mother of five who died on December 28.

She passed away in Chicago with her family by her bedside.

Her family explained that "her heart just gave out".

The mourners were led yesterday by Mrs Flatley's sons, Michael and Patrick, daughters Liza, Thoma and Annie, as well as 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Also present were friends including comedian Brendan Grace, musicians Matt Molloy and Ger Fahy, broadcaster Philip King, rugby star Doug Howlett, singer Sean Costello and businessman Dave Egan.Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by aide-de-camp Lt Col Kieran Carey. Fr Edward Aughney said he had met Mrs Flatley before Christmas when she was home in Carlow.

"The gap left in a home from the loss of a mother is something that cannot be replaced," he said.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News