Rosie O’Donnell’s been all over the news lately thanks to Donald Trump and her recently missing but found daughter. Now she’s got to cope with another tragedy, the death of her Co. Donegal-born father Edward, who passed away last weekend from cancer at the age of 81.
Rosie had a strained relationship with her dad, who settled on Long Island and raised five kids as a widower, working at the Grumman engineering plant in the town of Bethpage. In 2011, O’Donnell spoke about her Irishness with the Irish Voice’s Cahir O’Doherty, and how she identified with her roots even more after visiting Ireland with the NBC program Who Do You Think You Are.
“Doing that show really did change my life in a huge way because I really did identify as being Irish. Both my parents are Irish. It was a huge part of my identity. We all have Claddagh rings; my mother had one as her wedding ring,” she said.
“When they asked me (to go to Ireland) I asked them if I could bring my brother? I wanted to get closer to him. We’re a family that had no mom and had a dad that was stoic and typically Irish in that he was disconnected. The five of us were like the hands of a fist. There wasn’t a lot of I love you’s growing up. You know, typically Irish, right?”
O’Donnell’s adopted children are also in touch with their mother’s roots, she said.
“They were saying, ‘So you mean my great, great grandfather was in the poor house?’ And I was like, ‘Yes honey, he was.’ I got all choked up. They asked, ‘Could we go and see that place Mom?’ So we’re going over to Ireland for the holidays this year.”