'Riordans' star Moira Hoey is laid to rest


THE LATE Moira Hoey, who played the quintessential Irish mammy in The Riordans, was in a sense a mother to all of us, her son said at her funeral yesterday.

Ms Hoey (née Deady), who was originally from Cork, died on Monday, aged 88, after a short illness. She played the role of Mary Riordan in the popular Sunday night series from 1965 until 1979.

She also had parts in Brackenand Glenroeand worked on films including This is My Fatherand Angela’s Ashes. Most recently she appeared in The Tiger’s Tail.

Mourners in the Church of the Holy Rosary in Greystones were led by her son Kevin, daughters Mary, Bernie and Brenda and eight grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, actor Johnny Hoey.

Mr Hoey said her family had a great sense of pride in her achievements and in the fact that she had touched the lives of so many people through The Riordans. She was still recognised by fans years after the series had disappeared into the mists of time, he said.

Sometimes she would pretend to be annoyed by the attention but “you could see by the glint in her eye that she was delighted”.

He recalled how some people really believed that she was married to her on-screen husband Tom Riordan (John Cowley). When the couple were booking into a hotel on one occasion, the receptionist took great pride in saying the bridal suite had been reserved for them.

As they waited for her to realise her error, she said: “Ah no, you haven’t had a row?” he recalled.

Fans were also upset to see her arm in arm with real-life husband Johnny Hoey, who played Francie Maher in the series, and asked how she could leave a good man like Tom Riordan.

Mr Hoey said his mother was a staunchly independent woman who managed to balance her family and her career when it was not fashionable for women to do so. “Mum, this is not your final curtain but rather the curtain up on a new life you never doubted was waiting for you,” he said.

Celebrant Fr Denis Quinn, who was joined on the altar by Fr Dermod McCarthy of RTÉ, said Ms Hoey was a woman of great charity, compassion and understanding. She was a “lovely human being” with a tremendous smile and lovely sense of humour. “She epitomised to me all that is good in humankind,” he said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen was represented by aide-de-camp Capt Michael Treacy. Mourners also included Tom Hickey, who played her son Benjy, and screenwriter Wesley Burrowes, who wrote for the show.