By Helen Riddell
BEARA is this week mourning the death of author, broadcaster and journalist Deirdre Purcell, who owned a home at Kilcatherine for over three decades.
Deirdre and her husband Kevin bought the house near Eyeries village and fell in love with the area, increasing the frequency of their visits over the years.
In one interview, Deirdre credited Beara for allowing her to be more focused on her writing from a room which overlooked both the Atlantic and the Caha mountains.
Neighbour Raymond McCarthy said he and his wife Kathleen will miss her terribly. ‘Deirdre was a lovely person and a great neighbour who would always call into us for a chat. She was very approachable and down to earth and a great storyteller.’ Raymond added Deirdre had last visited the area a few weeks ago. ‘She enjoyed it here and she could be herself in Beara. She did a lot for the area and everyone thought a lot of her.’
RTE’s first female news anchor, Deirdre was also an acclaimed author and published over 19 books during her career, including Falling for a Dancer which was later turned into a BBC series in 1998, filmed entirely on the Beara Peninsula and starring Oscar-nominee Colin Farrell.
Local journalist and artist Marc O’Sullivan Vallig outlined how he first met Deirdre when she officiated at a Beara Arts Festival some years ago.
‘She willingly agreed to open the festival for us and was always a great friend of the artist. She supported local events in any way she could. She did so much for Beara, and when Falling for a Dancer was filmed here, it brought great interest and created local employment, putting us on the map.’ Marc said Deirdre gave him great encouragement in his own writing.
In a statement President Michael D Higgins said she would be remembered by colleagues and friends for her warm and creative presence.
Those attending her funeral mass in Dublin on Thursday were encouraged to wear colourful attire, with a private cremation taking place after the mass at Glasnevin Cemetery.