Kathleen Ryan was born in Dublin, Ireland of Tipperary parentage and was a spirited and heart warming Irish actress who appeared in British and Hollywood movies between 1947 and 1957. She was a great beauty in her time.
Kathleen Ryan was one of the eight children of Séamus Ryan, a member of Seanad Éireann and his wife Agnes Ryan née Harding who came from Kilfeacle and Solohead respectively in County Tipperary and who were Republican activists during the Irish War of Independence. They opened a shop in Parnell Street, Dublin in the 1920s which was the first of 36 outlets which were known as "The Monument Creameries". The family lived at Burton Hall, near Leopardstown Racecourse in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock. Her brother was John Ryan , a well known artist and man of letters in bohemian Dublin of the 1940s and 50's, who was a friend and benefactor of a number of struggling writers in the post-war era, such as Patrick Kavanagh. He started and edited a short-lived literary magazine entitled "Envoy". Among her other siblings were Fr. Vincent (Séamus) (1930-2005), a Benedictine priest at Glenstal Abbey, Sister Íde of the Convent of The Sacred Heart, Mount Anville, Dublin, Oonagh (who married the Irish artist Patrick Swift), Cora who married the politician, Seán Dunne, T.D. When Kathleen was an undergraduate at University College Dublin, she was introduced to the future, Dr.Dermod Devane of Limerick. They were married in the society wedding of 1944 and had three children, but the marriage was annulled in 1958. As one of Ireland's great beauties of her time, she was the subject of one of Louis le Brocquy's most striking portraits, "Girl in White", which he painted in 1941 and entered in the RHA exhibition of that year. The portrait (oil on canvas) is in the Ulster Museum collection. She died in Dublin, from a lung ailment aged 63 and was buried with her parents beneath an imposing statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, near the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.
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