Brendan Grace specialised in putting smiles on people’s faces all year round and at Christmastime, a time of the year that he absolutely loved, he really lit up the family home remembers his wife, Eileen, in a festive chat with Ireland’s Own
Whether it was being first up on Christmas morning to put the needle on the record to let Bing Crosby’s White Christmas ring out through the house, or having a lighthearted festive showdown to see if Mammy or Daddy’s stuffing was the best, Brendan Grace was just like a big child once December came around again, remembers his wife, Eileen.
“He always loved Christmas,” says Eileen, “and he always talked about one Christmas present he got of a fire engine that he loved, but his favourite of all was a torch! He used to talk about these three light torches…it had a button and you could do red, green and orange.
“Being from The Liberties, on Christmas morning and before his little sister, Marie arrived, he used to get on the country bus with his mammy and daddy to Dunlavin, where his daddy was from. It was a small country single decker bus, where they used to put the suitcases on top of the rack on the outside of the bus. He loved that and he’d go down to all his cousins, the Graces of Dunlavin. There’s a lot of them still there. He got up to a lot of devilment, a Liberties child going out to a farm and being let loose in the field!
“There was a story one time that his uncle had made him a box car and he was going down the hill and he ran over a turkey; the parents weren’t too happy at all. A total Bottler move all right!
“He was happy growing up in the Liberties. They lived in Echlin Street, off James’s Street, on the third floor and they had the best of neighbours. Brendan had only left that flat in May of 1972, and I met him that June.
“He had just bought his parent a house in Coolock, so they were only three weeks gone out of Echlin Street when I met him. It was his parents’ first ever house that they owned. Brendan always kept in touch with his mother’s close neighbours long after he was gone from Ireland. I still keep in touch now, but there aren’t many left from those days.”
Being one of the country’s most popular entertainers, it comes as no surprise that Christmas was a very busy time of the year for Brendan. Winter-time means panto-time, and he starred in pantos for many years.