Laurel & Hardy and Wives visit Ireland 1953


32cm x 27cm

From the Evening Echo, September 9, 1953

THE famous comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were scheduled to disembark from the liner ‘America’ which called at Cobh today from New York. No elaborate reception was planned, and the shipping officials carried out the usual arrangements for the arrival of important passengers.

The famous pair wanted no fuss, and of course, the liner company officals were anxious to carry out to the letter the wishes of their first-class passengers.

Mr Sean O’Brien, Irish manager of US Lines, said his officials were there to greet them and satisfy their slightest wish.

But often on the occasion when the planning is most careful, something goes wrong. And in this case it did. For neither the comedians, nor their wives, nor the company officials, nor the police nor the many other people associated with the life of a trans- Atlantic port of call, reckoned with the children, to whom the funny faces and the queer screen antics of the cuckoo comedians is better known than the president of the US.

The entire children’s population of Cobh must have played truant from school for they blocked all traffic, and despite the presence of several vastly amused policemen, they clung onto Laurel and Hardy.

They begged for autographs, ruffled their ties and generally gave them a whole-hearted reception.

Non-plussed, but only for a moment, the comedians entered into the fun of the affair, and nobody could accuse them of being stinted in giving autographs.

Twenty-three stone Hardy (22st 12lbs to be exact) commented: “We were absolutely overwhelmed. There scarcely ever was a film scene like it. They are grand children, and Stan and I are grateful to them.”

There was no great advance publicity, but all of Cobh and outlying districts seemed to know that Laurel and Hardy had arrived. Family parties went out in small boats and cheered as the tender bearing the passengers from the liner drew into the quayside.

The party were taken by Mr O’Brien to hear the carillon bells of Cobh Cathedral and the comedians told an Echo reporter that hearing the ‘Cuckoo Song’ played on the bells was one of the greatest thrills of their lives.

Later, the party went to kiss the Blarney Stone. All performed the traditional rite of kissing except Hardy, who commented: “Nobody would hold me. I am too big.”

Ald P McGrath, Lord Mayor of Cork, accompanied by Mr AA Healy, TC, received them at the City Hall and was photographed with them. Asked to nominate their favourite film the bluff Oliver replied: “Fra Diavolo.”

They have been partners for thirty years. Subsequently the comedians and their wives left for Dublin where they are to fulfil a theatrical engagement.

Amongst the others who met them in Cobh was Mrs D Murphy, on behalf of Mr George Heffernan, Tourist Agent, Cork.

Another passenger to disembark from the vessel was the Hon Kit Clardy, Republican Senator from Michigan. He intends to spend a short holiday in this country. In all, 117 disembarked at Cobh.

Embarking passengers included a party of 40 pilgrims from Cork to Lourdes and Liseux. The spiritual director to the party is Rev Maurice Walsh, SMA, and the pilgrimage arrangements were in the hands of Miss B Arnold, of Mr Heffernan’s agency.


Additional information

Weight 2 kg
Dimensions 60 × 50 × 5 cm
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