We Were There When… Dara Byrne Told of Losing Her Beloved Dad and Read Her COVID Poem on The Coffee at Eleven Show

Dara Byrne is a Mammy. An Irish Mammy. And she feels for all the Mammies out there. So much so that she set up The Mammy Hub, a Support Network for, well… Mammies.

And it works. And they love her for it.

She took time out of her busy schedule a number of weeks back to come on The Coffee at Eleven Show to talk about the work and why she started The Mammy Hub.

In telling that story, she went deep – perhaps deeper than she had planned – and spoke of the heartbreak of losing her dad at Christmas in 1999.

When we, that audience and the team recovered from her emotional reminiscing, Dara treated us to her beautiful COVID-inspired poem.

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, grant yourself a few minutes of l’Oreal’ time (you’re worth it) and allow us to present you a very special “We were there when…” moment.

We Were There When… Dara Byrne Told of Losing Her Beloved Dad and Read Her COVID Poem on The Coffee at Eleven Show

Yours Truly: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You are more than welcome to this, another episode, episode 80. Can you believe that? Episode 80 of The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM.ie SME Peer Support. Delighted that you’ve chosen to join us. Thank you for being here.

In particular, I’d like to welcome Dara Byrne, who’s Zoomed in all the way from County Carlow, and she’s going to have a chat with us today. Dara, please say hello and cheers us with your coffee cup.

Dara: Hello. Cheers.

Yours Truly: And somebody asked earlier what does the coffee cup say? What’s the little message?

Dara: It says, “You’ve got this.”

Yours Truly: Oh. You’ve got this. You’ve got this for sure.

Interview happens. Then this…

Dara: Yeah. Because I suppose that’s one thing that’s changed for me big time. It was ’99 and my dad went in for his second bypass. And yeah, that was Christmas week of ’99, and just remembering the story from when I was two and on the bed with him and I remember… Because I just have a poem that I’ll read to you later, because it’s how the The Mammy Hub and all that came about as well. But it’s just the idea of when you’re a child and being safe in the arms of a parent, and my dad was always my go-to, and I could lie on his chest and hear the heartbeat and stuff like that.

Even in my teenage years it was very comforting. So yeah, on the 22nd of December ’99 we were called into the hospital and they said, “Yeah, he’s not doing so great.” So when we arrived I remember going in and you could hear all the defibrillators and things and pump things, the things to try and save a person’s life. So that was going on, and that all kind of stopped when they said, “You can go in and see him now.”

So we went in and the nurse said, “Do you want to say anything?”

And I said to her, “Well, am I saying please don’t leave me? Or am I saying goodbye?”

And she said, “You’re saying goodbye.”

So I said goodbye.

And I put my head on his chest, and I just remember his heart wasn’t beating, and just that comfort was just gone.

Yeah, so I suppose things changed quite dramatically then.

Interview continues until…

Yours Truly: Going to go to Q&A from the floor in just a moment, Dara, if that’s okay. You’re nearly off the hook. Nearly.

Dara: I’m just wondering, would I be able to just read my poem? It’ll only take two minutes.

Yours Truly: Well I was going to ask that you would do that. I was going to ask that you would do that. And I’m going to ask you for a tip. I was going to ask you for a tip, what are you taking with you from COVID? But let’s do the poem first, and then we’ll go to Q&A for the floor.

Dara: I had it written out but then I was like, “Oh, I can’t read my writing.” Okay, it’s called The Gift. And it just came about from one night, I remember I said about my father and being on his chest, and the comfort that I got from that. Then I remember my daughter, she’s terrible for waking at night, we won’t even go there. But yeah, just that comfort that she gets the minute she’s on mama’s chest. And just the breathing, and the calmness and you just think, “Oh God, wouldn’t it be lovely if we all just took that time for ourselves.” So the idea is the gift that we give ourselves. That’s all. Okay, are you ready? One, two, three. Let’s go.


The Gift 

Give yourself permission to let go

Of comparison, doubt, judgement 

Wave good bye to your inner critic

Acknowledge this is a process

Forever adapting, learning, growing

Inspiring and being inspired


Come sit for a while

Grounded in the arms of Mother Nature

Rest your head upon her chest

Feel her heart beat

Slow yours to meet its calmness 

Accept the energy and love from her embrace


Soak in the serenity and beauty that surrounds you

Give your self the gift of time

The present of being present

In this time of pause 

Embrace it in all its entirety


Feel the warmth of a summer’s day

The whisper of a cool breeze

Strength and adversity in the eye of any storm 

Dance, sing, shout, laugh, cry amidst the rain

Breath in all that you are, all you are becoming


There is no right or wrong

You are you, a magnificent vessel of light 

Sometimes a gentle glow, others almighty brightness 

This is your journey, there is no rush

Slow yourself. Be gentle. Be kind. 

Each day the sun rises and falls

Bringing new lessons, new beginnings 

Breath. let go. Trust, all that is for you, will become 


Yours Truly: Well, rapturous silent applause there in the café. That was truly beautiful. Truly beautiful. “A magnificent vessel of light” a magnificent vessel of light, that’s what you are.

Dara: Thank you.

Yours Truly: A magnificent vessel of light. Yeah. You’ve chosen to be… You could have hid it under a bushel and you’ve chosen not to. So we applaud you for that, and many more years of you going over there and being a magnificent vessel of light for others. And of course, that light will continue, others will take the torch, and it will spread.

Dara: Yeah, some days I need other people to take it. It’s all right to still feel shit sometimes there. Yeah. Good days and bad days, especially now at the moment. We don’t know what’s going on.

Yeah, for sure. But look, just keep going. Just keep going, and to take your own words if I may, slow down. Go with the flow. Don’t force it. Just do a little bit everyday and let the universe take care of the rest, and the right people will find you, right? And we wish you every success, and in terms of you spreading your message of support and love. Truly beautiful.

Yours Truly: Right. What have you taken with you from COVID? Was the poem written in COVID?

Dara: It was just at the start of it actually. It was the idea that this was a time, I suppose before COVID I was looking into ways, because it was only in January of this year that I had that, I suppose, burnout, breakdown, whatever you want to call it. And I was starting to do things to maybe look at changing jobs and all that kind of stuff. So when you’re shoved into COVID you really have to start reflecting, and there’s the mirror. So yeah, it was definitely about letting go was a big thing, was the big thing that came up for me. Letting go of stuff, and moving on, and taking things that aren’t so great and turning them into something. I don’t know the something yet, but I don’t need to know the something yet. At this time, I know my why.

Watch the full interview here: https://youtu.be/UTmrIwdiJRM

Connect with Dara here: https://www.facebook.com/walkandtalkcarlow 

Check out The Mammy Hub here: https://www.facebook.com/Themammyhub/

The magic (and the hope) of live entertainment happens when all involved walk away shaking their heads in disbelief, dying to tell someone, “We were there when…” This cannot happen every time, even if the same people utter the same words time after time, as in a stage play that runs night after night, but it happens when a sprinkling of magic touches performers, crew and audience alike. And it happened several times on The Coffee at Eleven Show.

As we break for the summer, we thought we’d go back to the recordings and pull out a few of those moments where we can honestly and proudly say, “We were there when…”.

The plan is to share one “We were there when…”moment with you each week between now and September.

Come back next week for another installment of “We were there when…” from a guest who had Coffee with Colm on The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM – SME Peer Support


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