Saturday 10 December 2016

Emotional moment these Irish best friends reunite after 43 years following international search

Amy Molloy and Patricia Murphy

Published 18/09/2016 | 18:30

Ed Costello and Brian Kelly
Ed Costello and Brian Kelly
Ed Costello and Brian Kelly
Ed Costello, Brian Kelly, Vera Kelly, Gráinne Kelly, Rosemary Costello

This is the amazing moment two best friends met for the first time in more than four decades.

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Brian Kelly (70) and Edward Costello (68) were inseparable pals who grew up in Belfast together but lost touch when Ed moved to Scotland and Brian started a family in Dublin. Without the advent of technology, the pair unfortunately lost touch.

Despite their many years apart, Brian always thought about his old friend and best man, and launched a search on Independent.ie earlier this month in the hopes of being reunited with his childhood pal.

The friends reunited on Sunday afternoon in Belfast’s Kitchen Bar for the first time in 43 years, a teary moment which Brian’s daughter Grainne admitted was “hugely emotional”.

Brian Kelly, left, and Ed Costello, right, at Brian's wedding in 1973
Brian Kelly, left, and Ed Costello, right, at Brian's wedding in 1973

“It was kind of surreal. As children we had always heard stories about Ed and it’s always been something that’s been on my dad’s mind. My dad is very Irish in that, he wouldn’t really talk about his feelings, but you could see he was quite sad to have lost touch with his friend.

“They met each other with a big hug and they have not stopped chatting since,” said Grainne,

Ed Costello, Brian Kelly, Vera Kelly, Gráinne Kelly, Rosemary Costello
Ed Costello, Brian Kelly, Vera Kelly, Gráinne Kelly, Rosemary Costello

Brian, who lives in Dublin with his wife Vera, believed his friend was based in Scotland or had taken the leap to Australia, which they dreamed of doing as kids. However, after many years in the UK, Ed returned to Ireland with a Kerry girl, and is currently based in Co. Down.

The friends arranged a meeting after Ed’s daughter Rosemary spotted Brian’s appeal on Independent.ie

Brian Kelly and wife Vera celebrating Brian's 70th birthday in Mallorca
Brian Kelly and wife Vera celebrating Brian's 70th birthday in Mallorca

Brian’s daughter Grainne shared her excitement at solving the mystery and tracking down her dad’s best pal after so many years.

“We’ve been trying to connect with Ed for so many years, and it’s lovely to have finally brought them together. They’ve already been chatting about when they can meet up next and what they could do. It’s really changed their lives. It’s been such a happy experience to have been a part of,” she said.

The friends spent the afternoon reminiscing about their childhood days in Belfast, their holiday to Majorca where Brian found love and their days playing football with George Best.

“There’s a lot of joking and whispers being thrown back and forth across the table, and so many stories that I’ve never heard. They were the best of friends when they were teenagers, and although so much time has passed, it hasn’t changed a thing,” she said.

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