Wednesday 26 April 2017

Familiar faces gather to bid farewell to writer of 'Glenroe'

Actor Tom Hickey, star of ‘The Riordans’ consoles Wesley Burrowes’ widow Helena
and son Kim at the funeral in Bray
Actor Tom Hickey, star of ‘The Riordans’ consoles Wesley Burrowes’ widow Helena and son Kim at the funeral in Bray
The booklet for Wesley Burrowes' funeral
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Gifted screenwriter Wesley Burrowes led RTÉ directors on a merry dance throughout the Montrose studios as deadlines loomed and passed.

But he always delivered the script - even if the ink would sometimes be "still wet on the page", actor Tom Hickey told mourners at his funeral.

The 'Glenroe' writer, who passed away on New Year's Eve at the age of 85, helped to define the agenda and capture the social mores and challenges of the time through his skills, said celebrant the Reverend Baden Stanley at the service, held at Christ Church in Bray, Co Wicklow.

He was the writer of a large body of work - 'Tolka Row', 'Bracken', 'The Riordans', and 'Glenroe', a musical, film scripts - as well as Ireland's 1967 Eurovision entry 'If I Could Choose', which was played as his remains left the church.

The President Michael D Higgins was represented by his ADC, Commandant Louise Conlon, while many familiar faces from the groundbreaking dramas written by Mr Burrowes down the years gathered together to pay a final farewell.

'Glenroe' actors Mary McEvoy, who played Biddy, Emmet Bergin and Geraldine Plunkett who played Dick and Mary Moran, and Donall Farmer, who played Fr Devereux, were all there.

Actor Geraldine Plunkett who played Mary McDermott-Moran from Glenroe attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow.
Pic Steve Humphreys
6th January 2015
Actor Geraldine Plunkett who played Mary McDermott-Moran from Glenroe attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
The remains of Wesley Burrowes are brought to Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow by his family including wife Helena and son Kim and daughter Ciara Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
Actor Donall Farmer who played Fr Tim Devereux from Glenroe attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
RTE DG Noel Curran attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
Moya Doherty and John Mc Colgan attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
Actor Mary McEvoy who portrayed Biddy Byrne in Glenroe attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
The remains of Wesley Burrowes are brought to Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow by his family including wife Helena and son Kim and daughter Ciara (green jacket with blue broach). Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015
Miriam O' Callaghan attending the funeral of Wesley Burrowes at Christ Church, Bray Co Wicklow. Pic Steve Humphreys 6th January 2015

A wide circle of friends from the world of arts and former colleagues from RTÉ were in attendance.

Mourners included director general of RTÉ Noel Curran, Moya Doherty and John McColgan, along with former RTÉ managing director Joe Mulholland.

Also at the service were broadcasters Ryan Tubridy and Miriam O'Callaghan, along with former film censor Sheamus Smith.

Brian Mac Lochlainn, co-creator and executive producer of 'Glenroe' and 'Tolka Row'; playwright Bernard Farrell; and former 'Glenroe' producers Paul Cusack and John Lynch were also there, along with Noel O'Briain, director of 'Bracken'.

Fair City actors Bryan Murray, Aisling O'Neill and Tony Tormey were also among the mourners.

Mr Burrowes is survived by his wife Helena, son Kim and daughter Ciara. Speaking at the funeral, Ciara emotionally recalled her father's hospitality. Even after a debilitating stroke in 2011, he would hunt for a suitable drink in his hospital bedside cabinet for a guest - before quipping: "This is a pretty crap apartment."

Tom Hickey - who played Benjy in 'The Riordans' - gave a powerful eulogy in which he spoke of Mr Burrowes's talent, fondly recalling how he would seek refuge in various RTÉ departments to write as deadlines passed him by.

He also read a portion of a sermon written for Fr Sheehy in 'The Riordans', in which the parishioners were taken to task for their lack of Christian fellowship for the Traveller community, with Fr Sheehy chastising them: "For your strangeness you fear them. . . the falsehood is a better story."

Irish Independent

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