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devastating blow Gráinne Seoige reveals how her father-in-law's passing inspired move back to Galway

Gráinne and her husband made the move back to Galway to be close to her parents.


Gráinne Seoige and Leon Jordaan

Gráinne Seoige and Leon Jordaan

Gráinne Seoige and Leon Jordaan

Three weeks before Gráinne Seoige’s picture-perfect wedding to South African Leon Jordaan in Co Kildare in December 2019, his father Gert passed away.

The devastating blow for he and his family also gave the newlyweds pause for thought when it came to the importance of being physically close to loved ones, even pre-pandemic.

It was ultimately Leon’s suggestion that the couple leave sunny South Africa to move back to Ireland. Now living in Galway city, they are just 20 minutes away from the former RTÉ presenter’s parents in Spiddal, Co Galway.

“He buried his dad three weeks before we got married, it was very sad. And it made everything extra-poignant for us. And we were starting our life together through marriage, then his father’s life ended and it just brought everything into focus,” Gráinne said.

“There’s the expression, ’Tomorrow belongs to nobody but God’. We never know what’s happening and then two months later we were shutting down because of Covid. So you really never know what’s around the corner.

“And Leon said to me at the outset, ‘Look, your mum and dad are hale and hearty, they’re super-healthy and you’re so lucky to have that; both of my parents are gone. I can never have a coffee with them again, I can never call them up again and have a chat. You have that; you should be at home and be with your parents while you can.’

“And it really sunk home because I was supporting him in his grief and I could see you never get that time back again.

“I took on board what he said and then when Covid happened I said, ‘Actually, I really want to be at home now.’ Even though unfortunately we can’t see each other, psychologically I feel I’m nearby if I’m needed for support.”

The couple met in Ireland in 2011 while Gráinne was filming a TV show and were instantly smitten. He was “an amazing inspiration” when she decided to launch her diamond jewellery business Grace Diamonds in 2016.

She said that living in South Africa gave her the space and room to develop the company, in which she creates bespoke pieces at her own pace.

“Leon’s such an entrepreneur himself and the culture over there is hugely entrepreneurial. He’s been an amazing mentor to me,” she said.

“Obviously I’ve had a huge pivot in my career. I was in TV for 20 years.

“And so when that changed, you need a bit of encouragement and you need someone supporting you in that, telling you, ’It’s OK to make mistakes and you’re in a learning curve now.’

“Being in South Africa was actually a very safe place for me to learn and shadow people, because nobody was watching me.

“I was free to do it in an anonymous fashion and get comfortable with my new life and my new way of life and with Grace Diamonds.”

Gráinne also said the door was still open if the “right project” came along to return to television.

“You never know what’s around the corner; you never know what opportunity is going to come knocking,” she said.

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