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keys to life Brendan Courtney says singer Mary Coughlan is his 'new best friend' after appearing on his show

Presenter met the Galway crooner for the latest episodes of his TV series


Brendan with Mary Coughlan

Brendan with Mary Coughlan

Brendan with Mary Coughlan

TV presenter Brendan Courtney invited singer Mary Coughlan to appear on the new series of his show, Keys To My Life - and ended up with a new best friend.

The amiable broadcaster had never met the Galway crooner but says he was bowled over by her honesty, straight talking and sheer fun.

When he arrived at her secluded home not only was he stunned by the property, which she designed herself, but he was amazed to find her sending off CDs with an individually drawn sketch in all of them.

"The house is nestled in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains and is absolutely beautiful and modern. Dermot Bannon would be proud," says Brendan.

"I was like, 'Wow, your house is amazing' and she said, 'What where you expecting?'

When he said, "Fiddles on the wall and a thatched roof" the two of them roared with laughter. "She was sitting at her kitchen table with boxes and boxes of her new CD, self -distributing and doing a bespoke drawing for every single one.

"It was really well done, a little sketch of a boat with a red-haired woman on board. She was signing hundreds of them."

She told Brendan: "Sure, I have nothing else to do!"

"I'm a cheeky bastard and I asked for one. And she said, 'Yeah, you cheeky bugger.' I have the picture framed in the house and I'm really proud of it. It's really gorgeous."


Brendan Courtney has sold the show’s format to the UK and Denmark, among others

Brendan Courtney has sold the show’s format to the UK and Denmark, among others

Brendan Courtney has sold the show’s format to the UK and Denmark, among others

In Keys To My Life Brendan brings celebrities back to previous homes and places from their past which helped to form their lives and careers.

"Mary is the first out of the trap for the new series and you will definitely find out stuff you did not know about her before," says Brendan.

"We've become great pals. I absolutely love her. Straight away she started telling me about the new album which has a song about institutional abuse.

"A man in his 60s who she had never met wrote her the most beautiful letter saying that the song and her story was exactly what happened to him, that he never had a Christmas present as a child.

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"And she teared up telling me and I teared up. We were only in the house half an hour."

Brendan took Mary back to her national school which she hadn't seen in 48 years. She remembered every detail, which shocked her.

"She remembered her teacher's name, what she looked like, her classmates and then she kind of said, 'Why do I remember this?'

"And she remembered that her primary school was a really happy place because in her childhood there was pretty horrific trauma happening. She was abused at the age of six.

"So the school was a really happy place, a safe place, and we talked about that part of her life.

"She has done a lot of work on herself so she's very good at being able to construct the words to explain very clearly what happened to her," adds Brendan.

The presenter said Mary could laugh at herself, her romantic failures and two broken marriages.

"She's still friends with all of her exes, all of her ex-husbands and ex-partners. She is in a very happy place so she can talk about these things."

Other guests coming up on the show include Christy Dignam, Linda Martin and Sharon Shannon.

Brendan is on a high after Keys To My Life, which is his brainchild, was sold to the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania and Poland.


Brendan and Mary

Brendan and Mary

Brendan and Mary

"I've done it a few times with formats. Wanderlust was the first in 2009 and it was sold to 19 countries," the presenter tells.

"It's kind of surreal. You are not really involved but you get the pay cheque. But it's not massive money unless it actually goes into production.

"It's a new way of finding out stories about people we like.

"I'm so grateful that they are so honest with me. I suppose part of that is that I'm very honest with them.

"I'm a bit of an open book as well so I'd be honest about my life, things I've struggled with or whatever, so we have lots to chat about."

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