Saturday, May 23, 2015


Áine Bean Uí Shúilleabháin
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Sadly, Áine died this morning.

So I finally have to forgive her for her one indiscretion that I know of personally.

In the early 1950s she revealed to me that there was no Santy Clause. I don't remember if I was devastated or if I'd had my suspicions, but it is an event that I still remember. Mind you, she must have been very convincing as I had received an actual letter from Santy himself only a year or two previously.

But then, you could always believe Áine. A feisty woman with a great sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye, but straight as a die.

I got to know Áine when she was our next door neighbour at No. 41 Orwell Gardens in the early 1950s. We were staying with my granny then, and my mother and Áine became friends and, as I remember, attended the Rathmines Tech together for a period.

The Ó Súilleabháins were the cause of me going to Coláiste Mhuire after my ignominious rejection by Synge Street.

No. 41 Orwell Gardens, as it is today (2011)

After we moved to Ballybrack, I still had contact with the family through Áine's husband Donnchadh, who was General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge and Secretary of the Oireachtas (now Oireachtas na Gaeilge to distinguish it from the national parliament). Donnchadh died unexpectedly in 1989. I also maintained contact with her daughter Bríd through our common involvement with the theatre and beyond.

Sad to say, I did not keep up any regular contact with Áine, all my own fault, though I did meet her a few years back and she was in fighting form.

She was 96.

Church of the Holy Child, Whitehall

Sympathies to Bríd, Gerry and family.

May she rest in peace.

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