Meet Kerry Ryan

Love, Life and Family

“Love loves to love love” – James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922

When I see Kerry walk down the street holding her son Jack, with John, her husband and Jesse their dog, it always makes me so happy. Kerry is definitely one of the loveliest persons. We get our coffees and sit on the stoop to chat away and catch up. I love growing with her and her family.

We made for her a 10K yellow gold pendant on a 14" chain. Kerry chose a quote from James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses. We had the following conversation in her living room. 

Yael Kanarek: Why did you choose James Joyce quote for your pendant?

Kerry Ryan: I wanted something a little more personal to me, not only are the words beautiful and have meaning to me, but James Joyce is Irish and I grew up in Ireland so the words are a more intimate choice for me. My life is about love. It’s about how love blossoms into other things, and how it’s the beginning of everything. When you send that love out, then it comes back to you a thousand fold. The quote in itself just seems to be a repetition of the word love, but when you look at it and you read back a few times and think about it . . . "love loves to love love" . . . love comes from within and then passes to other people because of your actions. My love comes from within. To me, things that are love are many things in my life, it's John, its Jack, it's Jesse, it’s my family, my friends and my work.

YK: I’m so happy that you put it this way. The pendant is both an expression and a reminder. You’ve been living in New York City for many years but Ireland is still a big part of you.

KR: I'm very close with my family. My family is a big part of my life even though I'm here, and they are all there, I talk with them every day through chat. My mother and my five sisters and through my mother my father. We call our chat ‘The Ryanline’ and even my father will ask my mother, ‘what’s happening on Ryanline today?’ We converse continuously throughout the day. We send photographs to each other, we talk, talk, talk and then we talk some more all day, every day. I wake up in the morning and there is a conversation already started in European time. Throughout the day, we all add photographs and comments and links, it’s a mini feed that is always on. I'm very close with my family and I have three nieces and three nephews. Most of the conversation is just about our daily lives, but through that we keep in touch and we continue to love.

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s in Ireland and we had the best time. I had five friends, my sisters, and we played all the time and ran in the fields, and helped my father with cattle. I grew up on a farm. My family home was previously a railway station. It closed down in the late 1960s, and my parents converted it into a home. They filled in the tracks and made it into a lawn. There are still remnants of the railway station, things like the railways scales for weighing parcels, the old ticket office is now our dining room and the old town sign hangs in what is now a conservatory. Growing up, life was very simple, a lot of outside, time with animals, and time with my sisters. It was idyllic really. My parents are wonderful people. My mother had a lot to deal with, raising six kids. My father was, and still is, a very hard worker. We had a good time.

YK: Tell me about the watercolor painting of a beach. What’s the story there?

KR: My aunt Eileen, my mother's sister, lives in Cork, Ireland, with her family and we would swap houses. We would live in their house over the summer as Cork was closer to the coast. We would go to the beach a lot. The seaside, as we called it. The painting is of Robert's Cove, where we spent so many happy days. Eileen painted that from a photograph and gave it to as a wedding present. I love her work. That place was a wonderful place, that was the essence of summer for me. I remember a lot of ice cream eating at the beach and a lot of hot weather. But you know, in Ireland there wasn't a lot of hot weather. It’s funny that your memory plays tricks on you and you remember hot days. I do remember rainy days when you couldn't get out of your car, but they seemed to have been few and far between from what I remember.

YK: A framed personal ad surrounded by a big heart hangs framed by the door. Is this a love story?

KR: I lived with John as a roommate for a whole year. I was looking for a place and there were apartments advertised in the Village Voice . . . it was August and there was that ad that said "male seeking nonsmoking female strictly platonic, one room in two bedroom apartment". I thought perfect and I went to meet John. I remember what I was wearing, it was a sunflower dress. I had just been in New York a month and a half from college, when I met him. I kept calling his phone seeing what was going on, and I wouldn't leave a message on his answering machine. We didn't have answering machines when I was growing up, so I kept dropping the phone. And eventually, I left a message and he called and said "I'm so happy that you called! I lost your phone number! I'd love for you to be my roommate". So I took my stuff and moved in with him, and we lived together platonically for a year, and we got along really well. And we'd talk about things . . . we'd talk and talk and talk and talk. We'd go out to dinners together. And watch movies . . . I didn't know a lot about film and he educated me. I would dress him, or would try to. And then a year later, I got a chance to move to another apartment, and I realized I didn't want to move without him and that was the beginning of it all. We've been married sixteen years and Jack was born in 2011 – the love of both of our lives.

Yael Kanarek