A friendship formed on The Late Late Toy Show continued to blossom yesterday (Monday) as host Ryan Tubridy traveled to Wexford to check in with his friend Úna Walsh from Barntown.
na (14) captured the nation’s hearts in November when she performed “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman” on the harp at the Toy Show, speaking so eloquently to Ryan about her experience with hearing loss.
The young Wexford woman was born prematurely and was diagnosed with severe hearing loss when she was 10 years old. Doctors said it was likely she had the condition from birth.
She had hearing tests as a young child, but no one suspected anything was wrong because she was so good at lip-reading. As she got older, her hearing problems became more apparent and her life improved significantly when she started wearing assistive devices. In January, after her TV appearance, she received brand new hi-tech hearing aids from Hidden Hearing in Wexford, who now let her take calls from family and friends.
Last week an important call came from Tubridy himself, asking if it would be all right to take a trip to the sunny southeast for a visit.
“He called on Friday and asked what we were doing on Monday,” said Úna’s mother Barbara. “He said he was coming to The Loreto and while he was here, Director Billy O’Shea asked if he would like their new library and he said he’d be happy with it.
“Honest to God, he’s just that good,” Barbara said of Ryan. “He came for a ten minute visit to the school and he stayed for more than two hours. He always contacts people and he has been in touch with Úna a It was Ryan who arranged the hearing aids for Úna. It changed her life They’re having a blast together. They’re like two big kids when they’re together. They just get each other.”
While at the Loreto, Tubridy “crushed” the awards ceremony for third- and fourth-year students and even delivered a rousing speech.
“He gave an impromptu speech that was just amazing,” Barbara said. “He talked to the girls about life and reading and it was really beautiful. Then some students from Ballymitty National School came over with Úna’s harp teacher Shelly. It was so emotional They put out a great performance of ‘When I Grow Up’ ‘Matilda’.”
After that, Tubridy was more than happy to spend some time signing the students’ yearbooks and posing for selfies before heading home.