Desmond's Room

Agnes Bernelle (Agi to her friends) was Desmond Leslie's first wife. She was also a wartime secret agent, cabaret legend, actress, crochet artiste extraordinaire and Ireland's oldest punk. Born in Weimar Berlin, Agnes's family fled to London in 1936. A penniless refugee, Agnes was recruited by the American OSS (the forerunner of the CIA) to become a seductive presenter on 'black propaganda' radio stations. Her virulent outbursts were designed to undermine German confidence.

After a whirlwind romance with Spitfire pilot, Desmond, Agnes married into the Leslie Family as the Allies celebrated VJ day in August 1945. Mother to Sean, Mark and Antonia Leslie, Agnes settled into Glaslough by running Ireland's first discotheque in the Hunting Lodge, as well as creating 'couture' crochet designs.

When her marriage broke up, she moved to Dublin to continue her career in radio, theatre, film, television and cabaret. Aged 65, she ran away from home to front 'The Radiators', who later became the 'Pogues'. Phil Chevron, Elvis Costello and Marc Almond all produced LPs of her songs. When she died in 1999, the funeral was a great rock'n'roll event, where even the choir sang 'Mac the Knife'.

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