Ruth O’Connor asks four Irish creatives to write love letters to their Dads in time for Father’s Day
‘At least your daughters don’t break your heart as much as Manchester United does’Xposé presenter Cassie Stokes
Dear Dad aka Mick, You will be thrilled to note that this is not a letter looking for money like the one I sent from Vancouver aged 19. I just wanted to let you know that I love you.
Sometimes I’m jealous you’re even more quick-witted than me, but everyone says I get my dark sense of humour from you, so thanks.
You’re a hardworking man who absolutely loves his two daughters and Manchester United. I don’t know which you love more but I don’t think myself and my sister, Alex, break your heart as much as Man U do.
I think I surprised you as a kid when I loved playing sports and wouldn’t let a dress anywhere near me. We used to go to the pub in Toronto, any Irish pub would do, although the Guinness never tasted the same as home. I would get two packs of crisps and play my Gameboy while you chatted with mates whose daughters liked to wear dresses.
You’ve been there for some of the biggest moments of my life.
You were there for the hardest (and first) goodbye at 10-years-old. You and Mom were separating and, unfortunately, we didn’t have a choice in the goodbyes — we were moving home with Mom. I will never forget it and I’m lucky it wasn’t forever as you moved home to Ireland a few years later, and that, my friend, was a great day.
I came out when I was 25 and all I can say is ‘thank you’. Thank you for being so supportive and even cracking a joke about making sure I ‘bring home a good looking girl’ to ease my nervousness. You didn’t even bat an eyelid and showed me support from the moment I told you. You’re a very progressive-thinking man and the only person I would buy an €8 pint of Guinness for in Temple Bar.
Thank you for being there, making me laugh, always seeing the positive side and being so proud of me. You’re a soundie, even if you do love Man U more than your daughters.
- Love Cass x
‘I think back to the times you got out of bed at 3am to collect me from the nightclub’Goldsmith Nigel O’Reilly:
Dear Dennis, stay-at-home dads might be commonplace now but for my three brothers and me this was the norm for us growing up in Mayo as kids.
Even though you were looking after the farm, you were also the one making lunches, collecting us from school and getting the dinner ready before Mom came home from work in her job as a primary school teacher.
You were always first up in the morning — a trait it seems you have genetically passed to our seven-year-old.
Pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausages were your breakfast forté and your motto of ‘never leave the house without a warm breakfast’ has stayed with me.
You were always ahead of your time in being a feminist.
You once told me that I wasn’t allowed to watch the film Grease because of the violence and disrespect in it towards women and you’d the same disregard for James Bond.
There was never any such thing in our house growing up as ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work’ — it was just work to be done and taken on by all of us.
A much crueller education system never recognised your dyslexia, but when I was diagnosed aged eight, I remember your words: ‘Things will be different for you, it won’t stop you from doing anything you want in life’.
And you made sure that for me it didn’t. I still owe you for years and years of asthma inhalers too.
There has never been a time when I’m not glad to see you. I still think back to all the times that you got out of bed at 3am to collect me and my buddies from the local nightclub.
With two boys of my own now, I only hope they will look up to me as much as I still look up to you.
- Love, Nigel
‘You battled ghosts for us, made us unafraid of adventure and always rescued me’Garden Designer, Interior Architect and Author Leonie Cornelius:
Dear Dad, I’ll never forget the day we had the car crash.
It was a frosty winter day, the roads black with ice and us on our way to school chatting happily and listening to music. Then suddenly we were gliding and time stood still as we moved head-on towards two massive Sycamore trees.
In the blink of an eye you made the right decision — not to turn the wheel to the side but to steer us straight through the centre — the car overhanging a ditch but keeping my brother and I out of harm’s way.
That was when I realised what ‘Father’ means.
Your sense of adventure brought us all over the world. I am too young to remember the year we spent living on Ithaka but I treasure the laughter in the faded pictures and credit my love of sun, tomatoes and feta on that adventure.
I remember the excitement of camping under starlight and the long summer days on the Frisian Islands where I cut my toe on the bumper cars and you carried me all the way to the doctor who glued my toe back together.
And then our biggest adventure of all, our move across the pond to this little slice of heaven with nothing but a car full with our little family and suitcases containing all our belongings.
My favourite memory of all is the bedtime story which you told a slightly different version of hundreds of times over the years — of the train to Niedeggen where you camped as a young Scout and battled a ghost with your knife. One year, for my birthday, we visited the castle and went back to find your initials, proving that the story was true.
Dad, you battled ghosts for us, made us unafraid of adventure and always rescued me when I needed it. Here’s to all the adventures still left to come.
- I love you, Leonie
‘Your kind heart and dedication to your family have taught me so much’Fashion Designer Heidi Higgins
Dear Leo, I’ve always called you my Number One for the unique bond we have had and continue to have to this day.
The older I get, and, now that I have my own family, I can fully appreciate the effortless dedication, love and care you have given to me and my siblings throughout the years.
I remember waiting for you to come home from work when I was a child — for treats and to hear one of your made-up stories that would have us in stitches.
You have always encouraged me to persist at my dreams until they become a reality. Driving me around to sell my first collection and giving me the nudge to get out of the car knowing you were there waiting to hear how it went — how lucky am I to have you in my life?
You have been a tower of strength to me often and have always given me sound advice. You have taught me so much about life, toughened me up for the hard times and celebrated the good days — no matter how small the success.
Running my own business can be lonely at times but you are always there as a sounding board. You never disagree or interfere but I always know by your response whether it’s a runner or not.
Your sense of style, taste for life, kind heart and dedication to your family have taught me so much and I am so lucky to call you ‘Daddy’. You’re my Number One.
- Love, Heidi