From the Gate Theatre to RTE, Ann’s family pay tribute to a ‘wonderful mother’ whose ‘soul will always be in Kilcoole’
‘A wonderful mentor in theatreland’ and a ‘wing woman on lots of difficult and tough shows at RTE’ was how some of her fellow professionals paid tribute to Ann Caffrey (née Myler), who passed away peacefully in the wonderful care of the staff of Marlay Nursing Home, Rathfarnham.
The Kilcoole native was the beloved wife of Alan and will be sadly missed by her children Suzanne and Darryl, grandchildren Jamie, Lorcan and Aisling, nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Ann had a long career in teaching, acting and stage management, both in the Dublin theatre and RTE. As a multiple prize-winner at many Feiseanna, it was a natural progression into teaching speech and drama and she taught in many schools in the Dublin and Leinster area.
Ann acted in various plays and productions in the professional theatre in Dublin and toured many times. She also appeared in several TV programmes and was Benjy’s first girlfriend in ‘The Riordans’.
Ann gradually moved into stage management and an early triumph was her role as Stage Director in Noel Pearson’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in the Gaiety Theatre, in Dublin.
For many years she was Hilton Edwards’ Stage Director in the Gate Theatre and, latterly in her career, Ann moved to RTE and was a long-time Stage Manager on Fair City. Ann also taught Stagecraft at the VEC in Inchicore and was deeply involved in European projects, fostering integration and standardisation of stage production and its methods.
At the funeral Mass, on Friday April 28, at the Church of the Annunciation in Rathfarnham, Fr Michael spoke of Ann’s “graciousness”, saying that while “graciousness and hope” can be “vague words” their true meaning becomes apparent when you “come into the company of gracious people” and feel enhanced by them.
“When Alan was talking about Ann,” he added, it was so clear that “there was a great deal of that in their life together”.
Ann had a keen interest in gardening, reading and horses (she was described as a first-class horsewoman) family and local history.
Her grandfather, Gregory, was involved in the Kilcoole gun-running in 1914, when rifles and a quantity of ammunition for the National Volunteers were landed near Kilcoole. He also assisted in setting up the Co-Op.
Ann was also a great supporter and later member of the North Wicklow County Markets, who paid tribute to her as someone who was “always smiling, ready to help and always beautifully dressed”.
Ann had a keen interest in the Arts, she painted, made pottery and all this was done with the greatest of good humour and a warm smile.
In her eulogy, Ann’s daughter, Suzanne, described “an amazing woman who loved and lived life”.
Her passions were gardening and reading and Suzanne referred to a photo of Ann “taking slips from a plant in the garden of Versailles”.
She was always reading something, Suzanne said, “she loved to dance and enjoyed the music of Frank Sinatra and Leonard Cohen, Vivaldi and the Rolling Stones”.
Not only was Ann a wonderful mother with such a good heart, she was also a wonderful grandmother, who disliked the term “granny or “nan”.
While she may have left the world of theatre, retired from RTE and stopped teaching, Ann remained a teacher who was “always worrying about other people”.
“Her soul will always be in Kilcoole,” Suzanne said, and while “it’s for us to miss you, life has to go on”.
Suzanne’s final message was for those gathered to “do what she would want, to smile, open your eyes and love”.