Tribute to Irish dancing stalwart Brian McDaid

Brian McDaid

Brian McDaid

The funeral has taken place in Birmingham of Brian McDaid, a well known member of the Irish community in the city – he was 75.

Brian, who was born in Derry, was best known for his huge contribution to Irish dancing – not just in Birmingham but way beyond these shores.

Brian had been involved in Irish dance since he was a young boy.  When he settled in Birmingham he taught his own senior dance classes at St Anne`s Community Centre in Digbeth.

Later when he had passed his adjudicator`s exams he became a much respected figure at Feisanna in this country and abroad. He was also an active member of the Midlands Region of the TCRG and ADCRG – Irish Dance Commission.

In addition to his huge role in Irish dance, Brian was always on hand to help out those less fortunate in life. One such instance was his involvement with the Romanian Challenge Appeal, established by his sister Monica in the early 1990`s. Monica had visited an orphanage in Siret in Romania where hundreds of children, many with mental health problems barely survived in horrific conditions.

A huge rescue operation was established-high profile figures including Daniel O`Donnell and TV presenter Anneka Rice came on board. Brian was one of the key figures on many trips to Romania. One Christmas, Brian, in a Santa outfit, distributed presents to all the orphans-the first time in their young lives that they had ever received a gift.

Some years later, Monica  received an Irish Post award at a high profile dinner in London.

Two years ago, Brian attended the funeral of his great friend Mauretta Armstrong, the Limerick woman who is credited with introducing Irish dance to Birmingham, Brian’s moving tribute to Mauretta, a rendition of `Limerick you`re a Lady` brought tears to the attendance in Our Lady of Lourdes church in Yardley Wood.

Brian was always very proud of his Derry roots. He was also a personal friend of mine- and often helped out when I was covering the many Feisanna during my years with The Irish Post.

Brian`s funeral took place at St Anne`s church in Digbeth. The church was packed to capacity – at both the reception and the requiem Mass the following day.  Irish dancers from across the Midlands, formed a guard of honour as the coffin was carried into and from the church.

Internment took place at Robin Hood Cemetery in Hall Green. Following the funeral, a reception to celebrate Brian`s life took place at Scanlon`s Club in Hall Green-hosted by one of Brian’s great friends, Carol Scanlon.

Brian is survived by his Longford-born wife Teresa,son Vincent,daughters AnnMarie and Colette,  six grand children and Brian`s two brothers and three sisters.

May He Rest in Peace.