Deirdre Purcell remembered at special event in Castletownbere

April 2nd, 2024 10:00 PM

By Helen Riddell

The large crowd which gathered to commemorate Deirdre Purcell in Castletownbere Library (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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AN event to mark the first anniversary of  the death of author, broadcaster and journalist Deirdre Purcell was held in Castletownbere recently and was attended by her husband and family.

The event, held in the town’s library, saw Deirdre’s husband Kevin Healy, son Adrian Weckler, brother Declan and his wife Mary gather together with friends from Beara to remember the author who had owned a home on the Beara Peninsula for over 30 years, where she was warmly regarded by members of the local community. 

Also in attendance was Dermot Crowley who played Nealie Scollard in the TV adaptation of Deirdre’s book Falling for a Dancer.

Deirdre passed away suddenly in Dublin on February 13th 2023, aged 77. An actress, journalist, and RTÉ’s first female broadcaster, she was 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 a young Colin Farrell.   

Deirdre and her husband Kevin bought a house in Kilcatherine, just outside Eyeries village and fell in love with the area, increasing the frequency of their visits over the years.   

The event to mark Deirdre’s anniversary was organised by local librarian Dorothy Brophy. ‘Deirdre was a great library user, both here in Castletownbere and all over the country,’ said Dorothy. ‘I contacted her husband Kevin and the event was arranged with her family.’

Deirdre’s son Adrian read from her memoirs, her brother Declan read a piece she had written for RTÉ’s Sunday Miscellany, and Dermot Crowley read from her novel Falling for a Dancer. 

Deirdre’s son Adrian reading from her memoir. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)


Deirdre often acknowledged her love of her home in Beara, and in one interview she credited Beara for allowing her to be more focused on her writing, in her study which overlooked the Atlantic ocean and the Caha mountains.   

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