Tributes paid at funeral of mother of Dublin acting family, Daphne Brennan

‘Strumpet City’ actor described as a woman with great love for words and family

Former actor Daphne Brennan was described at her funeral as an "extraordinary Dubliner" who was also a great role model. Ms Brennan, née Carroll, died on February 8th at the age of 91.

She was married to the late Abbey Theatre actor Denis Brennan. Her acting career spanned more than 50 years and her children, Barbara, Cathryn, Paul, Stephen and Jane, along with several of her grandchildren, are also actors.

Family friend Fr Jimmy Murray told the congregation at her funeral service in Terenure College Chapel that Ms Brennan was a born thespian who was a member of the Radio Éireann players for 38 years and worked regularly in the Abbey and Gate Theatres and television.

Many remembered her as Mrs Bradshaw in Strumpet City although she was also a household name for her performances in the radio soap Harbour Hotel as Mrs Doyle.


“She loved life and words and she filled those words with life and emotions. There were so many scripts she brought to life on radio, stage and screen,” Fr Murray said. “She loved the flow of words and what she could accomplish with them and that distinctive voice and stage presence she had.”

Although an only child herself, Mrs Brennan delighted in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Fr Murray said. She had a refined sensibility with a capacity for feeling “that the rest of us could never comprehend”.

A teddy bear symbolising her love of children and a copy of the works of Shakespeare symbolising her love of theatre were brought to the altar.

Her daughter Jessica Irwin read a poem in her honour entitled Dear Granny and her son Stephen read his own tribute, entitled Life's a Hop. She played every part with "incredible zest", he said. He referenced her 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, "all adored and adoring".

Among those who attended the funeral were the playwrights Frank McGuinness and Tom Murphy, who is married to Ms Brennan's daughter Jane.

Actors Anita Reeves, Barry McGovern, Nick Dunning, Tom Hickey, Seán McGinley, Rosaleen Linehan and Nick Dunning were also in attendance, as were the director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan and the director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times