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Simon's sadness Ireland AM star Simon Delaney reveals heartbreak over death of his parents

"I miss them but I feel they are still with me and they are still guiding me," he said.


Simon Delaney

Simon Delaney

Simon Delaney

TV presenter Simon Delaney has revealed he still breaks down over the death of his parents who never saw him shoot to fame.

The actor said he prays to Billy and Margaret when he goes on stage.

"I miss them but I feel they are still with me and they are still guiding me," he said.

Simon's beloved mother died when he was just 19 and his dad six years later.

"I was in Coronation Street a couple of years ago and that was my mam's - God be good to her - favourite TV show, so to do that was a kind of bucket list thing," he told the Sunday World.

"She never saw me do a single thing. It's a huge regret that she passed away before I started out.

"But an even bigger regret is that they didn't get to meet their grandkids or get to come to my wedding and that's where my heart breaks."

The actor, writer, producer, TV cook and Ireland AM presenter said they would have loved his four sons, Cameron (14), Elliott (12), Isaac (eight) and Lewis (four).

"I remember two years ago when my eldest boy Cameron made his Confirmation and we were in the church, myself and my wife Lisa, and I were looking at Cameron and I just started crying.

"Lisa asked me if I was all right and I just said, 'Mammy is missing this, she should be sitting here.'

"So that's tough. One thing it has given me is that I have a little tradition now which I do particularly when I'm doing theatre, which is my first love as an actor. Since they passed away, no matter where I'm performing - and I have performed in every theatre in Ireland twice over at this stage, as well as the West End - I will always punch the back wall of the theatre and say a little prayer to my mam and dad before I go on stage and they are there with me.

"I tell you, I needed that the night I made my debut in the West End where I was performing in the two-man show, Stones in His Pockets, where we do 30 characters between us.

"I was absolutely bricking myself and I remember standing there in the wings at 7.15 on a Monday night in the West End - and if you want to be an actor that's the Premier League, baby - thinking, 'F**k it, I'm going to go home.' I was sh***ing myself.

"I touched the wall, said a prayer to Mam and Dad and stepped on to the stage and I did the show for nine months and it was just amazing. I miss them and I miss them for moments like that. But they are with us."

Simon (50) shot to fame playing would-be barrister Michael in Bachelors Walk, which is nearly 20 years old now and was repeated recently on RTÉ 2.

He has also been on countless shows such as The Fall, Moone Boy, Paths to Freedom, Alan Partridge and even the American blockbuster series, The Good Wife.

"Watching Bachelors Walk back has just been unbelievable," he says. "The bizarre part was watching it with my 14-year-old who after about three episodes said, 'Jaysus dad, you are smoking in every scene.'

"I was smoking in bed, smoking in the pub, drinking pints. It was quite bizarre watching it back, us walking through Dublin and seeing cranes everywhere.

"It was the start of that whole Celtic Tiger. Dublin was changing so much and that thing of sitting in Mulligans and having a smoke and a pint - I'd give you a digit off my foot to be able to do that now.

"It was so good to watch it and reminisce. And it was sad as well as there were a couple of actors there who have passed away since.

"They were good pals and it was great seeing them again and it brought back great memories of working with them. It was such a happy shoot. It wasn't work at all.

"It was a gorgeous show. It was so funny and it was all down to the writing. The scripts were gold. I remember when the scripts used to drop in the letterbox every year and you read them and you would piss yourself laughing thinking, 'This is great stuff.' There was such a family vibe on it because we had the same crew for three years. It was great to do it and to watch it again and relive it all was magic."

Meanwhile, the busy star has continued his Ireland AM slot at the weekends on Virgin Media One, which he loves.


Anna and her co-host Simon Delaney

Anna and her co-host Simon Delaney

Anna and her co-host Simon Delaney

He said it was so different in lockdown because most interviews were on Skype and there were few crew on set. He and co-presenter Anna Daly even did their own makeup now before going on air.

"It was important to keep going, not just for us but it was important in keeping people's spirits up," he said.

"It kept people entertained and I was amazed at the amount of messages I got last year saying, 'Thanks for being on air'.

"We have to remind ourselves that for a lot of people we were their company, particularly elderly people who were self-isolating and cocooning.

"We kept them company for three hours every day, seven days a week. We do 21 hours of live television every week and we try at the weekend obviously to keep it a little bit light.

"We are still going to keep you informed with all your news but I will still be making an eejit of myself.

"I fell off my chair last year and that went viral. We were sitting on those high stools which drop when you press a button. We were in the middle of an item and I somehow pressed the button with my foot and I dropped four feet and ended up behind the counter.

"My very supportive colleagues were pissing themselves laughing for about four minutes.

"Stuff like that happens all the time and it's all part of live TV. We try to have a bit of craic at the weekends because it's what people want, particularly over the last nine months.

"Myself and my TV wife of five-and-a-half years Anna Daly are great pals, so I'm delighted we are presenting again in 2021."

  • Ireland AM is on Virgin Media One every morning from 7am to 10am.

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