Thursday 22 March 2018

Family reunion with a twist

Lena Kelly with Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy
Lena Kelly with Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy

David Medcalf

An Enniscorthy family was re-united for Christmas by the combined power of the 'Late Late Show' and Supermacs, the fast food chain.

Lena Kelly (née Murphy) from Rathfylane near Courtnacuddy found herself gob-smacked on national television on Friday night when presenter Ryan Tubridy unveiled her brother MJ, whom she thought was in Australia. And for good measure, the 'Bring Them Home' home team also produced MJ's sons Patrick (13) and Calum (11).

'It was very well done, a complete shock,' admitted Lena, who had nominated her brother as a worthy recipient of a ticket home from Perth for the Christmas holiday. She felt that the family deserved a break in the wake of the death of MJ's wife Shirley last year.

The organisers went to endless trouble to keep the return of the trio to Ireland a secret. They put the father and two sons up in a hotel in Limerick for a couple of days for fear that they might be recognised in Dublin (where Lena lives) or Wexford. They even imposed Facebook blackout to prevent word of the trip leaking out.

'I was totally shocked,' confessed Lena, who headed for the RTE studios in Montrose with husband Patrick expecting to take part in a general knowledge quiz. 'I cannot believe I did not smell a rat.'

Her surprise was evident for the watching nation to see as her sibling was produced on the 'Late Late'. After the show, they continued the re-union in the Green Room hospitality suite, where they rubbed shoulders with the likes of comedian Brendan O'Carroll and musician Sharon Shannon, as well as fellow Wexford native Wallis Bird, from Bree.

Michael, or MJ, Murphy has been in Australia since 1987. He is one of eight children in the family of the late Martin (who died in 1986) and Teresa Murphy (who died in 2006). The 'Bring Them Home' treat has allowed him to catch up with brothers Patrick and Martin, who both reside in Rathfylane, as well as sisters Breda (Ballymurphy in Carlow), Anne (Killanne) and Bernadette (Enniscorthy).

By coincidence, both the Australian boys, Patrick and Mark, have celebrated Irish birthdays during their stay.

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