Dancing with the Stars - Mary pays tribute to Keelin Shanley

By William O'Connor

Irish television history was made last Saturday on RTÉ One, when Brian Dowling and Kai Widdrington, and Lottie Ryan and Emily Barker took to the floor as same-sex professional and celebrity dance partners, in a first for the dance series, both in Ireland and in the UK.

The show began with all the celebrity and professional dancers on the dance-floor, kicking off with a group performance to ‘Moving On Up’ by M People.

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Mary Kennedy with professional dancer Ryan Mc Shane during the Switch up show of Dancing with the Stars. (Image: Kyran O’Brien)


There were no eliminations this week.

The first couple to perform an individual dance were television presenter Mary Kennedy from Clondalkin and her pro partner for this week, Ryan McShane.


They took to the floor with a fun, giddy jive to ‘Twistin’ the Night Away’ by Sam Cooke.

Following the performance, Loraine said: “I really like when you got together and that’s where you were more comfortable. In the solo frames you were a little bit unsure, but that’s because of the time frame this week.”

Following her performance, Mary paid tribute to RTÉ broadcaster Keelin Shanley, whose death was sadly announced earlier that same afternoon.

Mary said: “Keelin Shanley passed away this afternoon – she was just a gorgeous woman, a colleague in the newsroom, and I know that everybody in RTE will be very very sad to hear about her passing.

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Ryan Andrews with dancer Laura Nolan during the Switch up show (Kyran O’Brien Photography)


She was so young, she was a robust journalist but she was kindness itself. She was always obliging and just a lovely person. Our sympathies go to her husband Conor and her two children Ben and Lucy. May she rest in peace.”

Fair City actor Ryan Andrews, who was partnered with ballroom champion Laura Nolan from Lucan, danced an enchanting waltz to ‘Open Arms’ by Journey. Afterwards, Ryan said, “there was added pressure” with waltz.

Loraine said: “Its position, the frame, the articulation of the feet, the swing and the harmony

. . . and it was fabulous. You were very dominant out there and you took on the leading role. This was a very polished performance.”

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