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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Maureen's centre stage after 64 years in theatre bar

Published 08/06/2013 | 05:00

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Maureen Grant with ‘Fair City’ actress Sorcha at The Mansion House in Dublin where she was honoured with a Variety Gold Heart Award for her outstanding contribution to Irish entertainment.
Maureen Grant with ‘Fair City’ actress Sorcha at The Mansion House in Dublin where she was honoured with a Variety Gold Heart Award for her outstanding contribution to Irish entertainment.

STEPPING inside the plush Olympia Theatre is like taking a stroll through barmaid Maureen Grant's memorable life.

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After 64 years backstage in the entertainment world, Maureen (88) may be considered a walking encyclopedia of 'who's who' in the industry.

Her face is immortalised on the wall of the venue, captured posing throughout the decades with Bono, Kris Kristofferson, REM, David Bowie and comedic duo Laurel and Hardy.

"Bono, the Edge and the lads," she said when asked who were her favourites from those famous faces she has encountered throughout the years.

After being taken on as a bar girl in 1949 for a three-week stint, she is still there after refusing to relax into retirement.

"What bosses would be keeping you on at 88? I love it and I hope to die there," said Maureen, who fundraises at the theatre every night.

In her first bid for the job, the young woman didn't reveal she was married as that would have cost her the position at the time.

"I got away with it until the eighth baby came along," she said. "I had them all hid in my little stockroom.

" There was a hook on the back of the door, I used to wrap them in a blanket, give them a spoonful of Dozol on his dodie and he'd sleep through the whole show."

"If you were giving it now they'd check for drugs," she laughed.

Promoter Pat Egan described her as a figurehead for the Olympia.

"She is so popular with all the entertainers," he said.

"Everybody is kind of insistent they have to come up and meet Maureen."

Maureen revealed her delight that her achievements were also being celebrated with a special evening at Dublin's Mansion House where she was honoured with a Gold Heart award for her contribution to entertainment from Variety, the Children's Charity.

Irish Independent

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