Tuesday 9 February 2010

Siobhan Miley Obituary (1965-2010)


by Elizabeth Moynihan

The Actress, Writer and Graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Siobhán Miley died on Friday morning, the 5th of February 2010.

She came into my life 15 years ago as a fellow actor on a performance piece entitled Fishbelly White. Our collaboration at that point bore none of the hallmarks of the defining relationship that it would become for me over the next ten years. It wasn't until 1999 that the seeds of a long and intimate friendship were sown in the rehearsal rooms of the Gate theatre's production of An Ideal husband, where she played the leading role of Lady Chiltern. My lowly turn was over by the interval and so, every night I spent the second act watching her from the wings, as she spun out the character of the politically and morally upright Lady Chiltern, with such precision, truth and humanity that it became clear to me any other choice would have been so much less interesting, less engaging less.... well brilliant! And from that moment I wanted to yell from the roof tops "Siobhán Miley is the best actress to ever come out of Ireland." Many of my actor friends have told me since then that having seen her in the role of Pegeen Mike in the Abbey's production of The Playboy of the Western World, that they too were affected deeply by her extra ordinary talent. And so I cast myself in the role of fan, which developed into what became a deep and lasting friendship when we holidayed in Mexico post show. Prior to that she thought of me as just another annoying blond that talked too much!

In Mexico we bonded, and I learned to shut up and let her talk.

There she swam with Dolphins and shoals of Barracuda, never showing fear as I cowered on the deck of the little boat we rented. We had many more trips together that involved hours of chat and laughter under a foreign sky. On one trip to Cyprus we sat pool-side in the sweet heat and it was only when dusk hit at 7pm that we realized we had been talking, laughing and basking in that oh-so-rare simpatico we were lucky to enjoy for 8 hours straight.

Siobhán had a passion for storytelling. Be it on a beach towel, as an actress or director and finally writing for RTÉ's Fair City. Inspiring me and anyone lucky enough to be called her friend. It is as a result of Siobhán's devoted friendship that I had the courage to dip my toe into literary waters. As she had the ability to instil confidence and passion for the arts in those around her. Wanting to share her knowledge and talent. Encouraging you to be the best you could possibly be.

In recent years her greatest love has been television. Watching it and making it. She was working on her own drama series and had also adapted it for the stage on the encouragement of Jim Culleton, a close friend.

Siobhán Miley was loved so deeply not just for her enormous talent as an actor and writer or for her incredibly sharp intellect but also for her humanity, her compassion, her gentleness and wit.

Many afternoons over the years I sought solace on Siobhán's sofa after one of my failed romances. There she would ply me with dark chocolate, tea and sympathy. Then cover me with a blanket and let me sleep off the heart ache.

Darling Friend, may I now cover you with a blanket of my love and let you sleep off your heart ache. Rest, rest in peace my sweet and beautiful Siobhán.



Siobhán's funeral mass will take place at 11am on Thursday, the 11th of February, at Corpus Christi Church, Home Farm Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.

13 comments:

Jonathan said...

Beautifully written, Liz - you have done her proud!

Karl said...

Deepest sympathies to you and all Siobhan's close circle of friends and family. I didn't know her well but always found her a lovely, warm, and likeable person, and her presence and talent will be missed.

Karl O'Neill

conor said...

Deepest sympathy, to all Siobhan's freinds and family I will always remember her as someone who could make me laugh. RIP
Conor L

Timucin said...

My deepest sympathies to Siobhan's family and friends. She was always nice, fun to speak to and always had time for you. She will be sadly missed.

Tim

Catherine Mack said...

Dear Liz - Siobhan would be proud of such elegant, touching and genuinely heartfelt writing. On reading it, I felt as if she was right here on the sofa beside me, and I could taste the tea and chocolate too. All sweet and lovely thoughts. My God, she was lucky to have such a true friend during her happy times and hard times. May her spirit and inspiration guide you through this very tragic loss.
I remember her clearly as Pegeen as my husband, Brian Brady, directed her in this role. She was so proud to be playing such a special part, and she did everyone proud in doing so. But I will let him write his own words. One other extraordinary role, which I will never forget, was Siobhan's portrayal of Mary Warren in The Crucible. Stupendous. As well as that, she was a true friend to me at a few times when I felt like theatre was a cruel place to be. I never got to thank her for that. Good to have an opportunity to share some memories of such a wonderful woman and thanks again for your beautiful words. She will never be forgotten. Catherine Mack

my daughter, the doctor said...

Deepest Sympathy to Siobhan's family and friends. She worked with Liz B, Ann S and myself on Fair City story over a number of years. She was a talented and inspirational story writer and we always loved having her on board the team. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. I learnt of her death as I was on my way out of the country and am so sorry I wasn't able to be there to say goodbye, but I hear you all gave her the most wonderful farewell. May flights of angels sing her to her rest. Mary Halpin (former Senior Story, Fair City)

Audrey said...

What a lovely and fitting tribute Elizabeth. I only knew Siobhan from guild events but was always struck by her great spirit and her wit.

On behalf of the IPSG can I express our deepest sympathy at Siobhan's passing.

Audrey O Reilly

Anne said...

Elizabeth, thank you for such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to Siobhan. I am one of her cousins from America and am devastated by her loss. It is lovely to read that so many others loved,admired and treasured her as I did. Siobhan lives on in the hearts of those of us who loved her so dearly.

Frankie McCafferty said...

So sorry to hear we've lost Siobhan. I worked with her on Ballykissangel and have fond memories of meeting up for pints in Stoneybatter and waving her off as she cycled home over the cobblestones, laughing. My sympathy to all her family and friends.

Paula said...

Deepest sympathies to you and Siobhan's family and friends. Our artistic paths crossed with much humour on manys an occasion and I have very fond memories of seeing the great calibre of Siobhan's work. What a terrible loss.
Paula McFetridge

helenhealy said...

I met Siobhan Miley in the 1980s at the Dublin Youth Theatre and we became close friends. She was passionate, thoughtful, clever and enormous fun to be with. She was a fine actress and it was a honour to work with her. In 1986 I moved to London and we kept in touch for several years. Unfortunately we drifted apart and did not remain in contact with each other. On hearing of her death I dug out some her old letters to me. Re reading them has been a moving experience.
Helen Healy

miriamgallagher said...

Siobhan and i worked togetheri nthe 1980s. Her fine perforemances were ever deeper and multilayered.She was a great joy as a performer, arresting, beautiful and complex. Thank you, Siobhan, for your unique contribution to Irish theatre.

Miriam Gallagher

siobhan said...

I almost feel silly writing this so long after your passing Siobhán but I also feel I need to. I hardly knew you missus, but we worked together on The Flesh Addict and shared a room and all that comes with it for a few months during that time. I knew I was in the presence of someone special, unique, beautiful, gifted. I'm sorry we didn't stay in touch. I guess it wasn't our time. I have thought about you so many times since I heard you died. And honestly, the universe is different without your physical presence here. I can feel it. You are missed hugely. Love you Siobhán, I'm sure we'll meet again, and next time I'll recognise you as someone to hold on to. xx