Mary Riordan, RIP

Well actually, it’s Moira Hoey (or Deady). If you are not familiar with the cultural history of twentieth century Ireland, you may not know anything about Mary Riordan and her family. She and her husband Tom, their sons Benjy and Michael, their daughter Jude, and their daughter-inlaw Maggie lived on their farm at Leestown in County Kilkenny. Together with other local friends and acquaintances they provided entertainment and prompted national debate, every Sunday evening on RTE Television for much of the 1960s and 1970s. At a time when public debate never really ignited about such matters, they handled complex social and moral issues. And they presented the viewing public with strong characters that became public property. They also launched or maintained the careers of some key actors, some of whom (like Gabriel Byrne and Tony Doyle) became global celebrities.

The series ended in 1979, and as far as I know no re-runs ever took place, and no videos or DVDs of any of the series have ever been sold. Maybe they wouldn’t fly now. The only clip I can find, on youtube, is this one, and to be honest it is not necessarily one that would make the nature of the show clear to those unfamiliar with it. But you can see Moira Deady, a.k.a. Mary Riordan, who died last week, and whose obituary was published in yesterday’s Irish Times.

Nostalgia can distort reality, but I would love to see The Riordans again.

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