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Ennis woman Priscilla Lernihan with the late Lisa Mrie Presley at the Elvis birthday proclamation in Graceland ten days ago.

Clare Elvis Presley fan had joyful Graceland meeting with late Lisa Marie just days before star’s death

AN Ennis Elvis fan has recalled the contrasting emotional high of being on “cloud nine” after meeting Lisa Marie Presley in Graceland to an “unimaginable feeling of grief” after learning about her sudden death a few days later.

Looking back on the annual Elvis Birthday Proclamation, Priscilla Lernihan remembered a very poignant moment when Lisa Marie admitted Elvis fans were the only reason to leave her house, having been a virtual recluse since her son’s tragic death.

In an interview with the Clare Champion, Priscilla recalled Lisa Marie was a different person from the one that appeared at the Golden Globe Awards after she spent an hour meeting and greeting fans in Graceland.

Still on holidays in New York when Lisa Marie (54) was taken to hospital, Priscilla was shocked to learn from her husband, Kevin, she had died following a suspected cardiac arrest.

“It was a huge shock. It might seem a bit silly to be upset over someone you don’t know, but I have known Lisa Marie my whole life, have followed her music career including the release of her three albums.

“Some of the lyrics of her songs are amazing even more so now because she speaks about her family being buried in Graceland and there is a plot for her there.

“She was way too young to die. She is the mother of 14 year-old girls, Finley and Harper. Elvis was 42 when he died and her grandfather was 63 when he died. Elvis’s mother died at the age of 46.”

She said it was “phenomenal” to meet Lisa Marie as she was very gracious during their meeting.

“It was an amazing experience and I am very blessed to have had it.”

She was delighted when her daughter, Sophie got Lisa’s autograph on a Sun Studios admission ticket.

Every year on the January 8th anniversary of Elvis’ birthday an Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony is held in Graceland, which attracts countless dignitaries and people from EP Enterprises.

As part of a holiday in the United States with her husband, Kevin and daughter Sophie, Priscilla spent five nights in Memphis and five nights in New York before they returned home on Sunday.

A lifelong Elvis fanatic, Priscilla is very interested in areas that some people don’t get involved in such as his extensive and very often unseen charity and philanthropy before his untimely death.

“Elvis gave away more than he ever spent on himself. Members of his entourage would say that is a lovely car and he would say ‘take it’.

“Elvis always put his fans first and wanted his ticket prices to be reasonably priced. He was a tremendous person who gave so much of himself.

“I have always been interested in Elvis. It was a lifelong dream to get to Graceland. For me, it was a pilgrimage. To get access to the Birthday Proclamation was amazing because there were thousands of people there. I didn’t think I would get near the Birthday Proclamation, which was where I met Lisa Marie.

“I never for one second thought I would get a chance to meet her. I positioned myself in the access path I thought they would use to get to the podium.

“We were all lined up in a queue in a roped off area. Lisa Marie walked from one end to the other talking to people, talking photographs and signing autographs.

“When she got close to us, someone said that is enough now the tours are starting soon. But Lisa Marie said I have started so I will have to finish.

“She was signing a jacket of the lady in front of me when I said: ‘Hi Lisa, I am from Ireland’. Lisa replied ‘I love Ireland’. I asked her could I get a photograph taken with her. We got a photograph together. David Kessler, her grief counsellor, took the photograph because I was shaking so much I couldn’t even hold the camera.

“I think I look scared in the photograph because I am trying not to cry. She didn’t seem unwell. She told me she had been to and loved Ireland. I thanked her for taking the photograph. I said: ‘we love you Lisa’ and she said ‘ we love you too’.

“I was on cloud nine. I can’t tell you how happy I was,” she said.

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