Irish dance superstar Michael Flatley revealed that his mother, Eilish, aged 80, passed away on Wednesday morning. It’s just one year since Flatley’s father, Michael Snr, died.
On Facebook Flatley posted a photo (above) and wrote:
“My dear mother Eilish passed away this morning. She is now with my father in heaven. Words cannot express myself and my family's sadness at this time. May God rest her soul."
Eilish had emigrated from County Carlow to the United States, in 1947, with her husband Michael James Flatley Snr. The couple founded a construction company in Chicago. They went on to raise five children.
Both Eilish and her own mother were champion Irish dancers. Flatley began taking lessons when he was 11 years old at the Dennehy School of Irish dance, in Chicago, and became the first American to win the Irish Dance World Championships six years later.
Michael Snr passed away in March 2015, aged 88, due to congestive heart failure. He was laid to rest in the village of Saint Mullins, in County Carlow, close to Eilish’s ancestral home.
Flatley made the eulogy at the funeral describing his father as “my hero”.
"My Mom has been a pillar and strength through all of this. I loved my father, he was my hero.
“He was a strong Irish man, proud and driven. He left County Sligo back in 1947 with nothing but an inexorable drive and determination that he could make it in the new world of America", he said.
Eilish Flatley is survived by her sons Michael and Patrick, and three daughters Anne-Marie, Eliza and Thomasina.
After his father died the Irish dance star admitted that he would never see his “dream home” of Castlehyde in Fermoy, County Cork, in the same light, as he had so many memories of his father there. Michael James and Eilish regularly visited the house, and always attended their son’s famous Christmas parties. Just months after his father’s death in 2015 Flatley announced that he would sell the house.
Just over a year ago Flatley spent $29 million on a new house in London where his business is now based. His new show, Lord of the Dance Dangerous Games is in the middle of a 200-plus venue, 25-country world tour.