Anna Nolan: Sometimes your heroes are those closest to home ... just like my dad
Family is very much on my mind at the moment, and I had the pleasure of spending Sunday with my father on his 75th birthday.
I know I am very lucky to have him around. Last year he was diagnosed with cancer and went through some tough treatment and an operation. So to have him with all the family at the weekend was a real gift.
Dad's brother Paddy and his sister Anita were there and we reminisced about spending Sundays in Ringsend with all the relatives when we were young.
I learned something new about myself - that I was a cranky little baby. There was me thinking I was an angel from heaven. Seemingly, my older sister Rachel would run into everyone's arms in the house in Stella Gardens. I would walk in, take one look around and scowl at every single adult in the house.
Hearing these childhood memories and stories of the aunts and uncles was priceless. But all the more so because Dad was there.
During the last year he endured his cancer battle with a smile on his face and an incredible attitude. Nothing was ever any trouble and the worst complaint he would make was "Ahhhh, I'm grand".
When I came out to my dad in my early 20s, he couldn't have been more supportive. He told me to mind myself, because there were always going to be people who were not comfortable with gays and lesbians.
Then he told me that if I needed anyone to head along to any of the gay bars so that I could meet people and make new friends, he would come along with me.
So here's to my dad, Kevin Nolan - 75 years of age, alive and happy. He loves all his children equally and we all adore him immeasurably.