Dallas TV star returns to Mayo in search of Irish roots

Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing in Dallas, is scheduled to visit Kilmovee this afternoon
Dallas TV star returns to Mayo in search of Irish roots

Kenneth Fox

An American actor best known for his role in the hit US TV show Dallas is in East Mayo tracing his ancestral roots.

As the Western People reports, Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing in the show, will visit Kilmovee this afternoon. Patrick and his partner Linda Purl are here to trace Duffy’s Irish roots and to film along the way for the pilot episode of a new TV series which will air in the United States in 2023.

Linda Purl is also an actor, and is best known for playing Fonzie’s girlfriend Ashley in Happy Days, a hugely successful sitcom, which starred Henry Winkler and a young Ron Howard, and ran from 1974 to 1984.

The couple will be greeted by a large welcoming party at Kilmovee Community Centre and will also call into The Four Ways pub around 5pm as he seeks to trace his roots.

Later on Friday, they will visit the old graveyard at Ballinrumpa and the stone fort at Culcastle as well as the village of Skeheen where Patrick’s male ancestors lived before emigrating to the US in the 1800s.

As The Irish Times reports, Mr Duffy said “It seems that just about everybody around here carries the surname Duffy,” as a crowd gathered around him and his partner, Linda Purl.

It was left to scientist and biotechnologist Dr Tyrone Bowes, who firmly established the actor’s Irish ancestry, to later explain to him that in centuries past a large number of Duffys had migrated to east Mayo from Ulster.

In Griffith’s 1853 valuation lists for the parish of Kilmovee, no fewer than 70 property owners named Duffy were recorded.

Parish priest Fr Joseph Gavigan said the actor’s visit had boosted the spirit of the community.

“Patrick Duffy’s ancestors left Ireland in difficult times. Their success as emigrants is one of the positive stories about the exodus from Ireland in the 19th century,” he said.

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