Why Michael Healy Rae wears that flat cap and 8 other things we learned from Living with Lucy
After a tough episode facing off with Katie Hopkins, Lucy Kennedy had something of a reprieve with Kerry politician and flat cap fan Michael Healy Rae.
Speaking to Independent.ie at the weekend Lucy gushed about the man, "I love him. I loved him. I loved every second in his company. He was a pleasure to live with, such a laugh, so easy, so warm. I’m mad about him. It was a laugh a minute. I had the craic. He’s a really, really good guy."
And after tonight's episode you can see why may have been a bit sad when she had to leave the bosom of the Healy Rae household.
Here are six things we learned...
Michael Healy Rae will ALWAYS answer his phone
Within the first two minutes of Lucy meeting him at his office behind the family shop, Healy Rae's phone rings twice. Throughout the programme there's hardly a scene where it's not ringing or he's not taking a call. He even takes two calls after midnight.
A large photo of Michael Healy Rae acts as the family's burglar alarm
"The place was broken into one time," says Michael. "The robbers were coming up the stairs and they saw the picture and they turned around and they left and they stopped at a certain place and they were overheard saying, 'Oh, we broke into a flipping house but we got out of it quick' and this person said, 'Why?' and he said, 'Oh it was that crowd, do you know them politicians in Kerry - this was above in Cork they were having the conversation and they couldn't remember the name. 'Oh, that bastard with the cap'. Your man said, 'Oh was it Healy Rae's?' 'That's him,' they said. That's the burglar alarm there [points to photo].
He was almost killed by his own cow...
"I was doing two jobs and she was after calving so I went taking her off the slats to put her out the back to a straw bed with her calf," he reveals. "She was a very quiet cow up until then but she decided to take a dislike to me. She knocked me. When I was on the ground then what she did was she put her leg on me. They don't just stand on you, they pull back. She even got me across the head with a pull."
...and a chicken curry
"That was a bad experience. I was having brown bread as well at the same time. I was dipping it and I took in too much and I was on the phone as well." Even though someone was administering the Heimlich manoeuvre, it wasn't working. "My hands went pure white and the tops of my fingers went purple. I drove my fingers back my throat while she was doing the Heimlich and I got enough [chicken] out to get air in and then the ambulance arrived and I was okay. But it was a fright like."
He has regrets about not being there when his kids were young
"If there was a nomination going for the worst father that I would have known I'd nominate myself for it," he says. "Because I was never at home. And when I say I was never at home I'm not exaggerating. I was just away seven days a week. I was never in my life at a school meeting. Maybe a lot of the choices I made, maybe I was wrong, but at the time I thought I was right and you can't go back. If [his wife Eileen] wasn't there to go with him and stand for him nobody else was going to do it."
He's not a fan of make-up
"You've been painting your face for the last 15 minutes," he tells Lucy. "If you were going to combat or something with the Zulus long ago you wouldn't be painting so much." He tells her she'll need a power washer to remove it. And later he suggests it must have looked like a slurry tank emptying down the kitchen sink when she washed it off the previous night.
He says he's 'old fashioned' for voting no in the marriage referendum
"But don't shoot me for that," he says.
"I had my little opinion and I made my vote and why I was obliged to answer the way I was voting is because I'm elected to represent people," he said, adding, "I'm friends with an awful lot of people who would be gay and they respect me for my opinion."
Michael's wife Eileen is gas
Having dinner at the The Lime Tree restaurant Lucy and Eileen gang up on Michael regarding his attachment to his mobile phone, particularly its presence during dinner.
"Oh we've had arguments over that, arguments over that because I could sit here and it wouldn't be because he'd be with people but he'd go outside the door [on the phone], outside the door for 20 minutes while I'd be sitting here!" Eileen tells Lucy conspiratorially.
Lucy commends Michael for putting his phone on silent for the evening.
"Why can't you do that when we go for a meal?" Eileen quizzes Michael. "Why can you do it for Lucy and not me?"
"Lucy would be raving about it and talking about it," he replies.
"But I'd be raving about it too!" protests Eileen.
"Look, I'll turn it back on!" he threatens as they all burst out laughing.
He can't handle talk of their romance
"We won't go into that at all," mumbles Michael when Lucy asks how they met, but before he has finished his sentence Eileen revealed they met at the Gleneagle Hotel on an August bank holiday weekend "when he was entertaining his cousins from America".
Lucy mentions the word 'lust' and it's too much for Michael.
"If ye keep raving now I'm going home," he says, clearly mortified. "Will ye shut up and stop raving."
Eileen tells Lucy she'd show her the first Christmas card she received from Michael. "It's from here to the ceiling," she says.
"I'm gone off my food," says a beetroot-faced Michael. "Jesus, God, you're gas!"
He explains why he wears his cap...
When Lucy asks Michael to let her see him without a cap, he whips it off to reveal his bald head.
"Are you conscious of being bald?" she asks.
"No. I'm not really bald. I've a pile of hair around the edges," he replies, adding that he won't keep it off because, "sure I'd get sunburnt like. No, well that and I mean if it's raining it keeps me dry."
It does not, he says, get sweaty.
Living with Lucy continues at 10pm on TV3 Tuesdays