Father Ted star Rynagh O’Grady has died suddenly aged 67

Rynagh O’Grady, best known for her role as Craggy Island shop owner Mary O’Leary in Father Ted, has died suddenly aged 67.

Tributes have flooded in as it is announced that Father Ted star Rynagh O’Grady has died suddenly aged 67.

O’Grady was best known for her role as Mary O’Leary, the Craggy Island shop owner in the popular Irish sitcom between 1995 and 1998.

The death of the Irish actress was announced on Tuesday in a statement by the Abbey Theatre and Dublin Live.

Sad news – the passing of a great Irish actress

Rynagh O’Grady has died suddenly aged 67
Credit: imdb.com

The statement from Abbey Theatre read,

“We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our beloved friend and colleague Rynagh O’Grady. We are thinking of her family and all who loved her.

“Rynagh trained in the Abbey School of Acting and first appeared on our stages in 1969. Notable productions included Donal O’Kelly’s ‘Mamie Sighs’ in 1990 and more recently in Deirdre Kinahan’s ‘The Unmanageable Sisters’.”

Abbey Theatre’s Director, Graham McLaren remembered his close friend, who he directed in 2018 and 2019, saying,

“Rynagh O Grady, her grace, her talent, her humour, her integrity, her patience.

“I’d sneak into the back row of the Abbey to watch her hush a hysterical audience with a look, then lead them through a speech full of heart, humanity, and justice.

“Irish theatre got a lot darker today.

“We were honoured to have Rynagh reading for the Abbey stage as part of Dear Ireland in August 2020. She will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, dear Rynagh.”

Tributes flooded in – co-stars and fans paid their respects

Rynagh O’Grady has died suddenly aged 67.
Credit: Twitter / @AbbeyTheatre

Rynagh touched the hearts of many and tributes flooded in as news of her passing was announced.

Fellow Abbey Theatre actor Bill Murray posted a tribute to his colleague and friend on Twitter writing,

“So sorry to hear of the passing of our trojan woman and friend actor Rynagh O Grady.

“We served together on equity and more recently worked together with the Abbey Theatre on Dear Ireland Continues and Abbey Calling. Thunderous ovations to you Rynagh. You made your mark.”

Father Ted, created by Graham Lineham and Arthur Mathews, which aired on Channel Four between 1995 and 1998, remains one of Ireland’s best-loved shows.

Set on the fictional Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland, the sitcom starred Dermot Morgan as Father Ted, alongside fellow priests Father Dougal McGuire, played by Ardal O’Hanlon, and Father Jack Hackett, played by Frank Kelly.

You can check out our Father Ted Episode Guide, which ranks every single episode of the hit show from worst to best.