‘He was a special man’ – Mary Kennedy regrets not taking one last chance to see her beloved father in her coffin

Phone-loving Mary Kennedy was in tears as she described the pain of turning down a last chance to see her father in his coffin after he suffered a heart attack on a golf course.

ary was in her twenties and was living in France when she received a phone call from home to say that her father was unwell.

Mary (67 years old) is the eldest of four children of Tom and Pauline Kennedy and was born in 1954. The couple hail from the Dublin 7 area but moved to Clondalkin, where Tom worked as an insurance agent.

Pauline and her sister got married on the same day and moved in together. The family lived across from Graham Norton, before he moved to Cork.

Mary has fond memories of her father.

“My dad used to read what we used to call jokes before we went to bed, he would sit around the fire and we would be close to them,” she told host Brendan Courtney on RTE’s Keys To My Life.

“My mother is strict and she would say ‘wait until your father comes home’. We’ll say ‘great’, because he’s a bit of a softie. “

She was the first in her family to graduate from college.

“I can remember my dad being so proud when I graduated. I spent a lot of time in the library, I worked very hard. I am an absolute nerd, I used to study and study and learn. It’s already put the pen down and look at the finished item,” she laughs.

Mary moved to Rennes in France in 1976 to teach English, and shared an apartment with her friend Jill.


Mary Kennedy with Marty Whelan on Open House

“During the time I was here, my father died suddenly. It’s an important place and I feel very happy to have the opportunity to visit it again,” she explained.

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“I thought how it was, Jill and I were on holiday for Easter and I got a call from Dublin saying my dad – who was playing golf, it was Saturday – it was his turn. I didn’t realize until returning to Dublin that he was indeed dead, that he had a heart attack on the golf course.

“You can imagine what those two weeks were like, it was horrible. But there was a bittersweet moment when I got back here.”

She added: “He was a great letter writer and he wrote to me all the time. I actually brought them to you to see. When I came back here, there was a picture he wrote and it only came after he died.

“He actually wrote it on March 11. It didn’t come until I got back. It was here waiting for me when I got back. So you can imagine, it was very sad because he was no longer with us and he always signed it ‘out of his mind’.

“I think I still miss him. I am the eldest child. He often calls me his pet. It is my father. I loved him so much.” Mary was emotional as she recalled his awakening.

“When he was placed in the morgue at St Vincent’s, the neighbors said ‘don’t come in and see him, remember him like you last saw him in January when you left to go back to Rennes. ‘ and I’m sorry. no,” she cried, as she was comforted by Brendan.

“I think I would love to see him lying in the coffin to say goodbye to him. That didn’t happen. He’s so lovely… he’s a special man. “


Mary Kennedy with Brendan Courtney in Keys To My Life

Mary returned to Ireland, when she got a job teaching Irish and French in the Coláiste Bride in Clondalkin.

“My mother is a widow now. I am the eldest child. I said, ‘I have to go home now, and help with the money’. I was so happy that things turned out like that,” she recalls.

Mary had to pack up and leave RTE nearly three years ago because 65 is the mandatory retirement age for station staff.

In the late 1970s, she applied for a continuous part-time job as a broadcaster at RTE.

“I responded to the ad, but I didn’t tell anyone. She got the ongoing part-time job that I combined with the work here,” she recalls.

“I was a celebrity here in Clondalkin! What they don’t see is that once I’ve finished my notice and the program starts, then I’ll take out their copies and I’ll fix them the next morning – no time wasted. “

Mary went on to become one of the main stars of RTE, hosting the Euro Song Contest in 1995 and leading magazine shows such as Nationwide and Open House.

“I think if people have the energy and drive to work, they should be allowed to keep working,” says Mary.

“Honestly, I’m 68 now and I don’t feel in my head any differently than I did maybe 20 years ago.”

But she did not want to ruffle her hair and left quietly.

“I am an employee and therefore forced to retire at the age of 65. That is not the path I chose,” she points out.

“I am a person who really follows the rules, but I don’t like the rules. I don’t like the fact that 65 is the cut-off point. “

Mary marked her departure by appearing on Dancing With The Stars. The mother-of-four narrowed her eyes from her home in Knocklyon and found love again after her marriage ended in 1997.

“I don’t think anyone who gets married wishes for anything other than it to be forever and until death we part. It doesn’t always happen,” she said.

“It was important to me that the kids go to the same school, the same friends, and myself and my ex-husband raising the kids,” she said.

“They’re all like grown-ups now, they’re good people.”

Marty Whelan surprised Mary by turning on the Key to My Life.

The pair giggled as they recalled how the tongue wavered about whether or not something was going on with them romantically as they got along so well on screen.

“I remember someone saying they were having lunch at some pub in north Dublin, not far from where you live, and they said ‘oh sure, they’re having an affair,’ laughs Mary.

“Every time something close happened between us, or something hilarious, we would say ‘this is for the woman in the Coach’.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/he-was-a-special-man-mary-kennedys-regret-at-not-taking-last-chance-to-see-beloved-dad-in-his-coffin-41999510.html ‘He was a special man’ – Mary Kennedy regrets not taking one last chance to see her beloved father in her coffin

Fry Electronics Team

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