DERRY born star Roma Downey took time out on her trip to Ireland to pay her respects to Louise James who lost five members of her family in the Buncrana pier tragedy last month.
The Hollywood actress travelled to her home town earlier this week from Dublin’s Mansion House where she had earlier been presented with the Irish Diaspora Award to visit Louise and her baby Rioghnach-Ann who was miraculously saved by Davitt Walsh.
The 55-year-old former Thornhill College pupil, who originates from the Bogside area, also spent a considerable amount of time at the graveside of her parents Patrick and Maureen Downey.
The meeting is understood to have been arranged by Fr Paddy O’Kane, parish priest at the Holy Family where the funeral service for Louise’s partner Sean McGrotty, their two sons, Mark (12) and Evan (8), Louise’s mother Ruth Daniels and her sister Jodi-Lee Daniels took place.
Since the tragedy, Fr O’Kane has been providing spiritual support to Louise and the McGrotty and Daniels families.
Following the meeting between the two Derry mothers, Ms Downey visited her own family plot at the cemetery. In a reflective frame of mind she posted a photograph to her Twitter page of the view of the city from the spot where her parents lie.
Alongside this she wrote the lyrics from the song Danny Boy: “And if you come, when all the flowers are dying, and I am dead, as dead I well may be,
“You’ll come and find the place where I am lying, and kneel and say an ‘Ave’ there for me.
“And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me, and all my dreams will warm and sweeter be,
“If you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me, I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
“I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.”
Despite her vast wealth – she is one of Hollywood’s richest women – Roma has never forgotten her home city, so it was not surprising that she would take the opportunity to express her condolences.
She said: “While I’ve spent most of my career in the United States, I’m a Derry girl at heart.
“I do miss home, but sometimes when I come home, I still miss it.
“So what I miss is the past, you know – when my mum and dad were alive. I couldn’t come to Ireland and not pay a quick visit to Derry, the town I love so well.”