Original Title Card of Ryan's Hope from 1975-1981 which featured Helen Gallagher (Maeve) and Bernard Barrow (Johnny) holding their infant grandson, Little John Ryan (played by Jadrien Steele), in New York's Central Park

Ryan's Hope is an American television soap opera that aired on the ABC television network from July 7, 1975 to January 13, 1989. It was a first for a soap opera in that it was set in a real life city (New York City), as opposed to a fictional setting, which was, and still is, the norm for soap operas.

In late June 1983, ABC aired Ryan's Hope at 12:00PM/11:00AM right before the other soap operas Loving, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital.

Its Roots

The show was created by the late Claire Labine and her partner, the late Paul Avila Mayer, who were, at that time, had been the head-writers for Love of Life and had been responsible for its brief resurgence in the ratings.

Labine and Mayer were the ones who had brought the show back to its "Good sister-Bad sister" roots, which had been symbolized by the Vanessa Sterling-Meg Hart dynamic when they clashed over morals.

They had been approached by ABC in late 1974 to create a new show. They added an Irish family named Ryan to the planned ABC medical based soap called "City Hospital". However, that title was soon scrapped. Another working title for the show was "A Rage to Love" but that title was also done away with.

The idea of an Irish pub in the story came from Labine and Mayer's previous work in the short-lived CBS soap, Where the Heart is  (itself replaced by The Young and the Restless) (They were the head-writers of that show in its final years), in which two characters had a prolonged affair at an Irish tavern in the town of Northcross.

Created and written by Labine and Mayer (they were also the executive producers for a time), it was owned by their production company, Labine-Mayer Productions, until they sold the show to ABC.

It had been videotaped at the ABC Television Center in New York City. Having the setting be in Manhattan, as well as being videotaped there, allowed for some use of location shots around Manhattan at times.

Claire Labine's two children, Matthew and Eleanor, also wrote for their mother's show later in the series run, especially in the final years.

About the show

The main families in this show were the Ryan family, the titular family; as well as the wealthier Coleridge; and later, the Kirkland families whose lives all were intertwined and intersected with one another.

The show starred veteran character actor Bernard Barrow (fresh from his role of the reformed villain Dan Kinkaid on the then just recently cancelled series The Secret Storm and a short-term role as D.A. Ira Paulsen on The Edge of Night) and Tony award winning theater actress Helen Gallagher (No, No, Nanette) as Johnny and Maeve Ryan.

The Ryans were Irish Catholic immigrants who ran a bar and grill called Ryan's which was located in the Riverside neighborhood of the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. (The area of Riverside was, in reality, the real-life Washington Heights area of the Upper West Side)

The show's title refers to the hope that the upcoming generation of Ryans would bring long after the previous generations were gone.

Title Sequences

For the show's first years, the opening titles showed the Ryan family as well as family friends Dr. Bucky Carter (Justin Deas) and Dr. Faith Coleridge (played at that time by Faith Catlin) enjoying a family picnic in New York's world famous Central Park.

The opening then later showed just Maeve and Johnny spending time with their infant grandson, John Reid Ryan (the picnic and John, Maeve and Little John scenes were shot in the Sheep Meadow area of Central Park).

The show's theme song, "Here's to Us" was composed by former Love of Life musician, Carey Gold (who had come along with Labine and Mayer), and was used for the show's entire run, although, incidental music was done by Aeolus Productions, which was a prolific producer of soap music.

Later openings would show ordinary people in various New York locales, with famous landmarks, like the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry and the Brooklyn Bridge featured, until the show mixed the two previous ideas with the then current cast having fun and frolicking all over New York City.

The Ryans, Coleridges and the rest of the gang in Riverside

Johnny and Maeve (nee Colleary), who were married at a young age and immigrated to New York from Ireland, had five children, Frank (Michael Hawkins; Andrew Robinson, Daniel Hugh-Kelly; Geoffrey Pierson; John Sanderford), a former NYPD police officer who became an attorney and decided to become a politician.  He was the father of Little John Ryan, by his first wife, the manipulative Delia Reid (see below) and the father of two other children; his younger brother, Patrick (sometimes called Padraig or Paddy) (Malcolm Groome; John Blazo; Robert Finocolli; Patrick James Clarke), a neurologist at Riverside Hospital, which was located across the street from Ryan's Bar; oldest daughter, Mary (Kate Mulgrew, Mary Carney, Kathleen Ryan Tolan; Nicolette Goulet) a journalist who was married to fellow reporter, Jack Fenelli (Michael Levin) and with him, had a daughter, named Ryan Fenelli, before she died at the hands of the mob; middle daughter, Cathleen (Nancy Reardon), a housewife who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and wasn't in New York a lot, but she would make some appearances, mainly for family milestone events; she was married to an insurance agent named Art Thompson (Gregory Abels) and has two daughters, Maura (also known as Katie) and Deirdre; and the youngest daughter Siobhan (Sarah Felder, Ann Gillespie, Marg Helgenberger, Carrell Myers, Barbara Blackburn), a free-spirited woman (in her first appearance, she had a wolf-hound she called Finn McCool) who later supplanted Mary's role as the daughter, after her sister died. She was a policewoman for the NYPD who was married to a man named Joe Novak (Richard Muenz; Roscoe Born; Michael Hennessey; Walt Willey) and had a son with him named Sean. Joe was related to the Novotny crime family, the same mob family who killed his sister in-law, Mary Ryan Fenelli. Although he had been married to one Jacqueline Dubujak (Gerit Quealy), the daughter of Max Dubujak (Daniel Pilon), another mob boss, his soul mate would always be Siobhan.

In the early eighties, Cathleen's older daughter, Maura Thompson (by now, known as Katie) was in the drama as an eighteen year old and she was played by actresses Lauren O'Bryan and Julia Campbell.

The other family in the original two-structure mix, were the wealthier old-money Coleridge family.

They were comprised of attorney Jillian "Jill" Coleridge (Nancy Addison Altman), who was, without question, the one and only true love of Frank's life who was the mother of two of his children; a deceased son, Edmund and daughter Mary; Jill's manipulative brother, Roger (Ron Hale), also a doctor at Riverside Hospital; and their sister, Faith (Faith Catlin, Nancy Barrett, Catherine Hicks, Karen Morris-Gowdy), who was also a doctor at Riverside Hospital, who had long carried a torch for Patrick, but after being used too many times as a scapegoat by Delia, got married to a Irish man named Tom Desmond (Thomas MacGreevey) and remained married to him until his death. 

Faith was a catalytic character. As played by Catlin, she was a very spoiled daddy's girl; as later played by Barrett; Hicks and Morris-Gowdy, she was a lot more stronger, but she also had some mental health issues.

Their late father, Ed (Frank Latimore), was an old friend of the Ryans (Johnny specifically, having known one another since they were children back in Ireland) and the chief of Staff at Riverside Hospital. Ed died as a result of being shoved off the roof by a stalker named Kenneth Castle who was stalking his blind daughter, Faith.

To Johnny and Maeve, Jill, Faith and Roger were as much a part of their family as their own children. Maeve had a more pronounced motherly bond with Jill, and she was often there to help her through the tough times. It had been Johnny and Maeve's wish that Frank and Jill had been married before he had married his first wife.

Also involved in the Ryan's lives was Pat's best friend, Dr. Bucky Carter (Justin Deas), a wealthy young man who became a neurologist. In the first episode, he ran afoul of the floor nurse, Ramona Gonzalez (Rosalinda Guerrera) when he did not read a patient's chart before administering medication.

His uncle and aunt (his mother's family) were Dr. Seneca Beaulac (John Gabriel), who would later take over as Chief of Staff after the death of Dr. Ed Coleridge; and his wife Nell (Diana van der Vlis), who was also a doctor. After her death, he would pursue Jill Coleridge, to the aggravation of Frank, as well as Jill herself, at times.

Patrick would get over Faith and he would eventually marry a fellow doctor named Concetta D'Angelo (Lois Robbins), who had once been involved with his nephew, Johnno. They would eventually leave for Mexico to set up a medical practice there.

Faith would be widowed by Tom's passing, and she would eventually leave Riverside to find herself. However, she would make an appearance in the series finale, with her daughter, named Grace. It was never revealed if Grace was the daughter of Tom.......or of Pat, altthough Pat asked her point blank.

The villain of the piece, Delia

Also frequently involved in the Ryan family's life was childish, neurotic (and very devious) Delia Reid Ryan Ryan Coleridge Crane Coleridge (Ilene Kristen, Robyn Millan; Randall Edwards, Robin Mattson).

Delia and her brother, Bob (Earl Hindman) had come from a very broken home. Their father was in an asylum and their mother had been long dead. Bob, a police officer and close friend of Frank Ryan, tried his hardest to keep his more devious sister on the straight and narrow, but often he failed. Delia had known the Ryans all her life and so wanted to be a part of their happy family.

She had been, at various times, married to both Frank and Pat Ryan (her high-school sweetheart). She had also been involved with their half-brother, Dakota Ryan (Christopher Durham), who was later disowned by John because of his criminal activity.

She was the mother of Frank's son, John Reid Ryan (played from infancy through age 11 by Jadrien Steele; and later played as an adult by Ash Adams), who got married to Dr. Lizzie Ransome (Catherine Larson) and had a son named Owen, which gave Maeve and Johnny their first great-grandchild and made Delia a grandmother.

The often unscrupulous Delia had a tendency to manipulate the Ryan family for her own selfish ends, and most everyone was no match for her neediness; but, happily, a few people didn't buy into her lies and manipulations and saw her for the conniver and schemer that she really was.

Her main MO was that she passed herself off as sweet, childlike and helpless, but in the words of Mary Ryan Fenelli, she was "as helpless as a bulldozer."

One of those people who was wise to Delia and her true nature was, in fact, Mary. She clearly made no bones about telling her what she really thought of her (she especially berated her when she was engaged to Pat and nobody realized that she had miscarried her child) and she wanted to get Delia out of Pat and Frank's life as well as out of her family's lives, once and for all.

Another person who was also wise to Delia and her ways was Roger's sister, Dr. Faith Coleridge. Their animus stemmed from Delia's continued and unwanted interference and accusing her of taking Pat from her, when she clearly wasn't. Faith had also caught on to her future sister in-law's manipulations and she, too, made it clear what she thought of her.

Although she was very neurotic, Delia was also possessed of a very violent temper and had a tendency to lash out at people and tended to throw temper tantrums when she did not get her own way or wasn't the center of attention.

The Beginnings and Delia's attempts on Frank and Jill's lives

The first main story of the series featured Frank's first foray into politics. He was making a run for city councilman for the Riverside district (as the show progressed, he would later make a run for state representative and then later on still, he would make a run for the Senate), when he was pushed down a flight of stairs at the hospital by an angry Delia.

Frank had been paying Dr. Roger Coleridge some blackmail money when Delia attacked him. He had a skull fracture and he had also broken his back by the fall and nearly died as a result of Delia's treachery.

He had announced to Delia that their marriage was over and he was leaving her for good. He was going to begin his relationship with Jill, and take their son with him. He would eventually recover and at first, he kept the secret of what happened to protect his wife, his son and the rest of the family.

Later on, she would also shove Jill and injure her in a similar manner to the way she had injured Frank, in the Ryans apartment (which was located over the bar). Jill would trip over Little John's tricycle, and she hit her head on a desk, giving her a concussion. She was hospitalized, but wasn't as severely injured as Frank had been.

After finding out about what had happened to Jill, Frank announced to a stunned family that it had been Delia who had pushed him down the staircase at the hospital. Delia moaned that he promised to keep it secret. This angered the Ryans toward Delia. It seemed that the Ryan family was starting to see Delia for the manipulator that she really was.

Because of what she had done to Frank and then Jill, Delia would lose custody of her son to her ex-husband and his new paramour.

Frank and Jill would break up numerous times over the show's fourteen year run (over various misunderstandings; outside interference by several blackguards and of course, manipulations by the conniving Delia and later Rae Woodard), but they would always inevitably find their way back to one another.

They would (finally!) be married near the series end and Jillian would finally become Jillian Ryan! Sadly, Jill would leave before the show ended when she would go with her sister, Maggie to visit Bess after she had an automobile accident in Australia. She would come back for the finale to reunite with her family and she and Frank would finally be happy.

Delia would often rant and rave about Frank's love and affair with Jill but she was proven to be no saint herself. She would begin an affair with Jill's brother, Roger Coleridge. Frank would finally divorce her. He and Pat would finally extricate themselves from Delia and her tentacle grasp!

Little John had been taken from Delia once before by his grandparents, John and Maeve, because of Delia's neglectful nature. Delia was always known for doing what she wanted without any concern for anyone else or their feelings. Her aim was to be the constant center of attention.

It wouldn't be the first time that Delia would run afoul of the Ryans. A couple of years later, Delia seduced Pat into marriage, but she had miscarried the child she was carrying, which was Pat's child.

She and Pat would marry three weeks after she lost the child, but she would fake another miscarriage, nervous breakdowns, botched suicide attempts and a case of hysterical blindness to hold on to Pat. Delia's despicable behavior eventually drove Pat to amphetamines and he would, in a drug-fueled rage, shove Delia down the stairs, in the same manner that she herself had done to Frank and Jill.

When her crimes were revealed at that time while on a cruise she had conned Johnny and Maeve out of (another cruise guest saw Delia faking her blindness and confronted her on it), it was the last straw for the Ryans. Pat revealed all of her crimes, and the entire family, finally having had enough of Delia's constant manipulations and lies, would confront her.

They would also eventually detach themselves from her. At first, she felt that she had been deserted by those who she depended on; even her own brother, Bob, would turn against her. She had never felt more alone.

It was at that time, with the help of Roger that she began to assert and would gain her independence from the Ryan family. With the encouragement of Roger, she would grant Pat his annulment and Frank his divorce, freeing them for later and happier romantic entanglements, especially with Frank and Jill.

Of all the characters, Delia was the breakout character of the show. Her antics were often entertaining, albeit a bit bizarre. She was a businesswoman, and at one time was even kidnapped by a gorilla!

And then came Rae!

Another prominent character was Rae Woodard (Louise Shaffer), who was the widow of William Price Woodard (Wesley Addy), who had, upon her husband's death, would become a very wealthy media mogul. She would cause the Ryan family countless moments of grief. Delia and Roger would be mere nuisances compared to the trouble Rae would cause. She would seduce both Roger Coleridge (which angered Delia) and then Frank Ryan (which would cause Jill much grief, because Rae despised her). When he spurned her, Rae plotted to demolish his political career, but she was exposed.


The show's most famous alumni included Kate Mulgrew (the original Mary Ryan) who later became better known as Captain Kathryn Janeway on the series Star Trek: Voyager (she was the first female captain in the whole Star Trek franchise) and is currently seen as inmate Galina "Red" Reznikova on the Netflix comedy-drama series, Orange is the New Black; Geoffrey Pierson (Frank Ryan #4), who would play opposite Stephanie Hodge as her hated ex-husband, Jack Malloy on the raucous WB comedy, Unhappily Ever After (he would meet and marry his wife, Cali Timmins, after they met on Ryan's Hope); Marg Helgenberger (Siobhan Ryan Novak #3) who would become famous as crime scene investigator (and second in command to the team) Catherine Willows on the long running CBS Police Procedural series, CSI; Ana Alicia (at that time called Ana Alicia Ortiz), who played obstetrics nurse and later Rae Woodard's assistant, Alicia Nieves, would later become more famous as the manipulative and scheming vintner, Melissa Agretti Cumson (who would toy with the affections of on-screen cousins, Lorenzo Lamas and William R. Moses, marrying the former and carrying the latter's baby) on the long running prime-time soap, Falcon Crest; Justin Deas (Dr. Bucky Carter), who would later go on to more fame on later soaps, As the World Turns (as attorney Tom Hughes); Santa Barbara (as slightly crooked and mischievous D.A. Keith Timmons); and Guiding Light (as diner owner Buzz Cooper); and the late Earl Hindman (who played Bob Reid, Delia's more mature brother) who became more widely known as Wilson W. Wilson, Jr. Tim Allen's wise and caring next door neighbor whose face was always obscured by something usually the fence separating their yards (a running gag) on the long running situation comedy, Home Improvement. Earl's real-life wife, Molly McGreevey, had a recurring role on the series as Polly Longworth, the best friend of Rae Woodard.

More Famous Alumni

Other familiar faces who were on the show over the years (besides Barrow and Gallagher, who were both well-established performers when the show began) included Nell Carter (she played a woman named Ethel Green, who was protesting the living conditions of a tenement which was owned by Nick Szabo), who would later headline in (and win a Tony for) the musical "Ain't Misbehavin'" and would be the star of her own situation comedy, Gimme a Break!; Julia Barr (who played Reenie Szabo, Nick's daughter) would later be best known for her role of Brooke English Cudahy Chandler, the niece of Phoebe Tyler, on the long-running soap, All My Children;  Ann Gillespie (the second actress who played Siobhan Ryan) who would be a featured player on Beverly Hills 90210 and its sequel, 90210 (where she played Jackie Taylor, Jennie Garth's on-screen mother); Yasmine Bleeth (who played the first adult Ryan Fenelli, Johnny and Maeve's granddaughter), who would become a major star on Baywatch; Tichina Arnold (who played a street girl, Zena Brown, who was taken in by Jack Fenelli) who would become more famous on the situation comedy, Martin (as Martin Lawrence's arch-enemy, Pam); Scott Holmes (who played Deli owner, Dave Greenberg) would later become the final Tom Hughes on As the World Turns; Catherine Hicks (who played the third Faith Coleridge), who would become best known for her role of loving mother, Annie Camden on the long-running series, 7th Heaven; Grant Show (who played Rick Hyde, the younger brother of Siobhan's police partner, Bill Hyde, and was smitten with Ryan Fenelli) who would become best known on the series, Melrose Place (as Jake Hanson), he and Yasmine Bleeth had dated at one time in real life; veteran actress Gloria DeHaven (who played Jill's birth mother, Bess Shelby); Christian Slater (who played DJ LaSalle; his father was Michael Hawkins, the original Frank Ryan); Louise Shaffer (who played Ryan family enemy Rae Woodard) would later move to Search for Tomorrow as the final Stephanie Wyatt before leaving acting altogether and becoming an author and soap writer; Leslie Easterbrook (who played Devlin Kowalski), who was best known for her role as self-centered actress, Rhonda Lee, on Laverne and Shirley and in the Police Academy franchise as Officer Debbie Callahan; James Wlcek (who played Ben Shelby, Jill's half brother) was featured in the TV show Sons of Thunder; Cali Timmins (who played Jill's half-sister, Maggie Shelby) met and married her husband, Geoffrey Pierce on the show; Daniel Hugh-Kelly (Frank Ryan #3) who would go on to co-star in series like Chicago Story and in the failed sitcom, I Married Dora; John Gabriel, who played Dr. Seneca Beaulac, who was a major player in the series for many years, (his wife, Sandy was also a soap actress, playing troublemaking but very wacky Edna Thornton on All My Children; John, himself, played a character called the Professor (but was technically a high school teacher) in the pilot episode of the sitcom, Gilligan's Island); soap veteran Diana Van der Vlis (who played Seneca's first wife, Nell; and near the series end, played her lookalike, Sherry Rowan, whom Seneca was also interested) had been on Labine-Mayer's other show, Where the Heart is; Kathleen Widdoes (who played merciless troublemaker Una MacCurtain), who would become better known as the wise and loving Emma Snyder on As the World Turns, a character who was as opposite of Una as anything; Judith Chapman (who played another supposed paramour of Frank, Charlotte Greer, she really wasn't; she was paid by the spiteful Rae Woodard and brought the evil MacCurtains to New York to cause trouble with the Ryans), who would later become the gold-digging and slightly troublesome (but well-meaning, wacky and quite lovable) Gloria Fisher Abbott Bardwell on The Young and the Restless; Roscoe Born (the second Joe Novak), who would make a name for himself as the absolutely evil cult leader Mitch Laurence (who seemed to have a running grudge on the Lord family) on One Life to Live; Walt Willey (who played the final Joe Novak), who would be better known for the role of Jackson Montgomery, the love of Erica Kane's life on All My Children; and producer Jadrien Steele (who had played little John Reid Ryan from infancy to age 11).

Delia would have a life post-Ryan's Hope

Delia would make some memorable returns on ABC's only remaining soap opera, General Hospital, her storyline having been retrograded to reveal that she is the long lost mother of villainess Ava Jerome (her father was a mob boss named Victor Jerome, to whom she was briefly married to before she met and married Frank Ryan). Ava is played by actress Maura West.  

Delia was still troublesome (although much less so than in the early years of Ryan's Hope) and after running afoul of Sonny Corinthos one time too many, she was unceremoniously sent back to New York. In New York, it was revealed that she was now running Ryan's bar, as at this point in time, it was presumed that both John and Maeve Ryan had passed away and the rest of the Ryan family all had their own lives and hadn't had any hand in the bar in the first place.

Helen Gallagher, teacher

Although she is still very much involved in acting to this day (with mostly guest star appearances on shows like Law and Order), Helen Gallagher is also a teacher. She had taught singing in her home during the early years of Ryan's Hope, where one of her students, Michael Hawkins, also played her son, Frank Ryan! She still loves to teach a new generation what she had learned as well.

Ms. Gallagher is currently a faculty member at the world-famous HB Studio, a famous school for the arts in Greenwich Village in New York. Another former soap actress, Johanna Leister (Dr. Phoebe Smith Jamison from The Edge of Night) also works at the HB studios along with Ms. Gallagher.

Casting and story troubles

Despite its appeal, one of the show's major flaws was the continuous recasting of pivotal characters. During the show's run, the Ryan children had been recast various times, with five different actors playing Frank; five playing Siobhan; four playing Mary and four playing Pat. Other recasts included four for Delia; four for Joe Novak; two for Little John Ryan; two for Maura Thompson and four for Faith Coleridge. Only Johnny Ryan, Maeve Ryan, Bob Reid, Jack Fenelli; Jillian Coleridge, Roger Coleridge and Cathleen Ryan Thompson (when she made her infrequent appearances) would be played by the same actor all the way through the series.

The hated Kirkland period and the series final years

In 1982, Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer were fired by ABC and had been replaced by their long-time assistant, Mary Ryan Munisteri. Munisteri was an old friend of Claire Labine, and she was the inspiration for the Mary Ryan character on the show. She penned a new family to come along and this family would really upend the apple cart, so to speak.

This major sore spot for the fans of the show (and even for some of the actors themselves) was a time where the Ryan and Coleridge families was basically ignored in favor of a new wealthier family called the Kirklands.

Headed by wealthy Hollis Kirkland (Peter Haskell) and included such various members as Catsy (Christine Jones); Kimberly Harris (Kelli Maroney), the daughter of Hollis and Rae Woodard and was married at one point to Seneca Beaulac; Leigh (Felicity LaFortune) and Amanda Kirkland (Ariane Munker; Mary Page Keller), this family would supersede the Ryans and Coleridges for a time, and sometimes the show was thought to be called derisively "Kirkland's Hope". Understandably, ratings took a nosedive during this period.

In 1983, Labine and Mayer, as well as actors Malcolm Groome and Ilene Kristen (the original Pat Ryan and Delia Reid, respectively) returned to the show. Labine and Mayer purged the show of the Kirklands and focused their attentions back on the Ryans and Coleridges, as it should have been.

Ratings improved slightly, due to a very interesting story about an Irish feud between the Ryans and the quite dastardly MacCurtain family, which had been instigated by a vengeful Rae Woodard (in revenge to Frank and his family exposing her troublemaking). This story brought Roy Poole and Kathleen Widdowes as the evil troublemakers Neil and Una MacCurtain (who had a running grudge against the Ryan family, since Maeve had spurned Neil many years earlier when they lived in Ireland) and Judith Chapman as a former supposed "wife" of Frank Ryan, Charlotte Greer. Needless to say, all three were vanquished and were sent away.

However, once again Labine and Mayer were replaced with another head writer, Pat Falken-Smith from General Hospital. She, like Munisteri before her, again shifted the focus from the Ryans (although not as severely as during the Kirkland period) and moved the main focus to Greenburg's Deli (a nearby delicatessen in Riverside, run by David Greenburg), where later character, Maggie Shelby hung out. Dave and Maggie would become major characters in the course of the show (Maggie already was, due to her connection with long-time character, Jillian Coleridge being her half-sister).

However, the Ryans would soon regain the focus (when Tom King and Millie Taggart took the writing reins from Falken-Smith), some of the Kirklands would return (in a far lesser capacity than before) and the newcomer, Dave Greenburg, would also still be in the thick of the drama, and the stories worked out well.

However, sadly, due to time changes and many other factors, the damage had already been done. The show would finally be cancelled in 1989.

One of the most cherished traditions of the show during its run was Maeve Ryan singing the Londonderry Aire (popularly referred to as "Oh, Danny Boy") every St. Patricks Day at Ryan's. 

During the series finale, (it wasn't always the highest rated soap on ABC, but due to its constant winning of Daytime Emmys and other awards, it was considered ABC's most prestigious soap) it was only fitting that Maeve singing the Londonderry Aire at the wedding of Jack Fenelli and Leigh Kirkland with everyone else joining in would be the only proper way to end the show.

Also making returns and saying their fond farewells were Pat (now married to Concetta, and were on their way to Mexico; Roger and Delia (who had once again remarried); Faith (with her daughter, Grace, whose father was never revealed but was thought to perhaps be either Pat or Tom's); and Jill who returned from Australia (with Maggie along with her) to return to her life with her beloved Frank.

Partial Cast

  • NANCY ADDISON ALTMAN -- Jillian Coleridge Ryan
  • BERNARD BARROW -- Johnny Ryan
  • HELEN GALLAGHER -- Maeve Ryan
  • HANNIBAL PENNEY, JR. -- Dr. Clem Moultrie
  • EARL HINDMAN -- Bob Reid
  • ILENE KRISTEN -- Delia Reid Ryan Coleridge
  • KATE MULGREW -- Mary Ryan Fenelli
  • MALCOLM GROOME -- Dr. Patrick "Paddy" Ryan
  • DANIEL HUGH-KELLY -- Francis "Frank" Ryan
  • JADRIEN STEELE -- Johnno Reid (Little John) Ryan #1
  • JASON ADAMS -- Johnno Reid Ryan #2 
  • CHRISTOPHER DURHAM --Dakota Smith Ryan
  • DIANA VAN DER VLIS -- Dr. Nell Beaulac/Sherry Rowan
  • JOHN GABRIEL -- Dr. Seneca Beaulac
  • MICHAEL LEVIN -- Jack Fenelli
  • MARG HELGENBERGER -- Siobhan Ryan Novak
  • NANCY REARDON -- Cathleen Ryan Thompson
  • GREGORY ABELS -- Art Thompson
  • JULIA CAMPBELL -- Maura (Katie) Thompson #1
  • LAUREN O' BRYON -- Maura (Katie) Thompson #2
  • TRACI LIN -- Prudence "Pru" Shepherd
  • ROSEMARY PRINZ -- Sister Mary Joel
  • GRANT SHOW -- Rick Hyde
  • KAREN MORRIS-GOWDY -- Dr. Faith Coleridge Desmond
  • FRANK LATIMORE -- Dr. Ed Coleridge
  • RON HALE -- Dr. Roger Coleridge
  • SCOTT HOLMES -- David Greenberg
  • JUSTIN DEAS -- Dr. Bucky Carter
  • LOUISE SHAFFER -- Rae Woodard
  • KELLY MARONEY -- Kimberly Harris Beaulac
  • ROSCOE BORN -- Joe Novak
  • GORDON THOMSON -- Aristotle Benedict-White
  • JULIA CAMPBELL -- Maura "Katie" Thompson
  • LOIS ROBBINS -- Dr. Concetta D'Angelo-Ryan
  • CALI TIMMINS -- Maggie Shelby Coleridge
  • CATERINE LARSON -- Dr. Lizzie Ransome Ryan
  • JUDITH CHAPMAN -- Charlotte Greer
  • ROY POOLE -- Neil MacCurtain
  • KATHLEEN WIDDOES -- Una MacCurtain
  • GLORIA DeHAVEN -- Bess Shelby
  • JAMES WLCEK -- Ben Shelby
  • YASMINE BLEETH -- Ryan Fenelli Hyde
  • JOHN PERKINS -- Father McShane (the Ryan family's priest)
  • TICHINA ARNOLD -- Zena Brown
  • PETER HASKELL -- Hollis Kirkland
  • FELICITY LAFORTUNE -- Leigh Kirkland Fenelli
  • MARY PAGE KELLER -- Amanda Kirkland
  • CHRISTINE JONES -- Catsy Kirkland
  • GERIT QUEALY -- Jacqueline Dubujak Novak
  • DANIEL PILON -- Max Dubujak

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