Saturday 17 August 2019

'I never really understood how special that day was to him until I saw that letter' - former RTE presenter Theresa Lowe on her late father

Theresa Lowe, flanked by her proud parents John and Marie Lowe in July 1997
Theresa Lowe, flanked by her proud parents John and Marie Lowe in July 1997
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Even today, twenty years after she left our screens as an RTE presenter, the very mention of the name Theresa Lowe will rise a spark of nostalgia in many Irish people.

RTE's "Where in the World?" was the centrepiece of many Sunday evenings in Irish homes, and presenter Theresa was at the helm.

Now, she is manages her own communications business, but in July 1997 after "Where in the World" had finished its near decade-long run, Theresa was called to the Bar of Ireland.

Her mother and father, John and Marie Lowe, proudly watched their daughter tot up another career highlight.

Here, she shares a photo of that day, and why the memory of it is so special.

“What I love about this photo is the sheer happiness on both of their faces – they were great people, great parents and a very happy couple.”

“This photo is very precious to me. It was taken twenty years ago in July 1997 on the day that I was called to the Bar of Ireland… this photo of myself and my parents has special meaning because just a few short weeks later my dad passed away very suddenly.”

“On September 23rd he died. He had a heart attack while visiting his brother Willie in Loughlinstown Hospital and passed away three days later to our immense shock and grief.”

“A few months after dad died I discovered that he had written to his sister my Auntie Mary in Clonfanlough, County Offaly, the ancestral home - a tiny cottage - with a long account of that day at the Four Courts and what it meant to him and mam. He had enclosed newspaper cuttings marking the occasion as some of the press had taken photos of me on the day and I never really understood how special that day was to him until I saw that letter and the cuttings.”

“Despite Dad’s shyness and being a man of few words, the letter spoke volumes about how he felt as does the expression of happiness on his face in this photo.”

“Dad never met our two youngest children. He knew and loved the twins Quincy and Frankie and thought Quincy was the image of him! His name was John Joseph and we called our third son JJ in honour of dad. It was a golden day and I'm so grateful they were both there to see it and share it with me and I'm so glad this photo exists, which will always remind me of them and how much they loved me.

Do you have a photo you'd hate to lose? Send it to, and tell us the story behind your most precious photo

“Mam and dad worked so hard to make sure that we (a family of eight) were given every opportunity and encouragement in life and they were mad about all of us and particularly about each other.”

“My mother was very outgoing, warm and charming and told us all that we were great and that we could do anything we want. She was incredibly funny too and would come out with one-liners that would have us all in stitches.”

“Daddy was shy and very reserved, very gentle and you'd never hear a bad word from him about anyone or an expletive even and I'm sure he had many occasions to do so.”

“Mam and dad emigrated to England with six children in the 50s at the height of a recession here, and dad worked as a foreman in Lockheed's factory and in the evenings he would work as a gardener to help make ends meet.”

“He had a phenomenal memory and despite being taken out of school at 14 years of age – to the day he died he could remember and quote without mistake long soliloquies from Shakespeare from Hamlet to Macbeth, and he also had a talent for maths: dad would tot up reams of numbers in his head and never used a calculator or a pen and paper.”

“He worked as a postmaster along with my mother in Richmond Street post office where he spent his latter days, retiring at 72.”

Every day this week, an Irish celebrity will share the story behind their most precious photo.

A recent survey by Fujifilm Imagine showed 80pc of Irish people have lost photos they've taken and stored digitally, while 42pc have lost photo memories due to corruption or damage to their digital device. Some 38pc of Irish people changed or lost their phone or PC without saving or printing their photos, and 32pc deleted photos by accident. 

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