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25th Feb 2024

Viewers gobsmacked by incredible adoption story on Tommy Tiernan Show

Simon Kelly

Tommy Tiernan adoption

“Both tragic and uplifting all at the same time.”

Viewers of the Tommy Tiernan Show were astounded by the incredible story of his first two guests on Saturday night’s show.

The two friends, Nessa Hurley and Anne O’Connell, struck up a friendship through social media, before discovering years later that they were, in fact, sisters, having been adopted from Bessborough mother-and-baby home in Cork in the 1980s.

The incredible story blew the RTÉ show host and viewers away, who praised the sisters for their story and how they spoke about their birth mother.

Viewers gobsmacked by incredible adoption story on Tommy Tiernan Show

Immediately upon meeting the two, Tommy said that they looked like twins and caught on to their situation quickly.

However, it was only after their incredible story was told that the host was left speechless by it.

Nessa began by saying that the two had great childhoods with their adopted parents, with both of them knowing they were adopted from a young age.

However it wasn’t until 2020, that Nessa began to investigate her birth, after a report on the Bessborough mother and baby home was released, which “appalled” her.

“You think of these places as being from the 50s and 60s, but the 80s is my teenage years,” said Tommy. “You’re watching Top of the Pops and Live Aid and it doesn’t fit.”

During the interview, Anne mentioned that she had since visited the institution (which only shut down in 1999), saying that it was “bleak” and that the women who were sent there “must have been terrified”.

Nessa continued by saying that she didn’t want to meet her birth mother, but wanted to let her know that she was OK.

“I wanted her to know that I grew up in a great family and if she felt any guilt, to let it go.”

In 2022, Nessa then received a call from the adoption authorities informing her that they had located her half sister, who she shared a mother with, which incredibly turned out to be her friend Anna.

“The weird thing is that Anna and I met like eight years ago. We knew each other well, we had a friendship. We had very similar interests.”

Despite their friendship, the two did not discuss that they were both investigating their pasts with adoption authorities.

Viewers were left just as gobsmacked as Tommy, with one commenting: “These women, and their mother, and their story are extraordinary.”

Another said: “If you’re not watching the Tommy Tiernan Show, switch it on. This is an extraordinary story, both tragic and uplifting all at the same time.”

A third commented: “My goodness these two women are incredible. Their empathy & compassion towards their very brave Biological Mum is beautiful. Tommy handling a tough interview very sensitively.”

You can catch up on the full interview on the RTÉ Player.

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