Mary's family was number one

Mary Kieran

Mary's family was number one

The death occurred peacefully on February 8 last of Mary Kieran in Saint Cecelia’s Ward, St. Oliver Plunkett Hospital.

Mary lived all of her life in North Louth except for the last ten years when she required full-time residential care. She was born and reared in Ballinamara, Riverstown and moved to Proleek, Ravensdale to reside when she married. She and husband Leo would have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary next August.

Mary’s life was one dedicated to home and family, having from a young age engaged in domestic service, and never was one for travelling far from her local surroundings, and always stayed within the country.

She was one of a large family of John and Maryann McShane, comprising brothers, John, Tom, Mickey, Jamsie, Gerry, Hugh, Pat and sisters, Roseanne, Brigid, Liley and Lilian. Liley who resides in England is the sole surviving sibling.

Mary attended the old Rathcor National School which had none of the normal modern conveniences, notably running water or electricity.

On leaving school, she helped out in the houses of neighbours and picked potatoes. Her first job was doing housework in Martin’s pub in the locality, where she also helped out in the bar when it was busy.

She went to work in Dungannon and then moved closer to home to Newry, where she worked in the home of a doctor.

She changed employment with her next job in a convalescing home in Stillorgan in Dublin before taking up a domestic position with the then Louth County Manager, Lionel MacKell in Dundalk.

From there she went to work with the family of Pat O’Hagan at Ballymascanlon where she remained for 20 years and was treated like one of the family.

She learned new baking skills from Mrs O’Hagan at which she became very proficient and very versatile. She was noted for her brown bread, and could produce the tastiest buns, apple tarts and dumplings, and was a dab hand at baking Christmas cakes. She would bake a batch of 20 to 30 at a time and her skill was also called upon to bake wedding cakes.

She was always baking and her door was constantly open to friends and neighbours, and she liked to see them for a chat. She also found time to take care of the family animals, with her husband a part-time farmer, and worked at various jobs over the years.

The couple met in the old Forrester’s hall in Ravensdale in 1962, and married five years later, with the ceremony in Grange Church conducted by Father John McGrane. The couple went to live with Leo’s parents. Mary was a Cooley woman at heart, and retained her ties with her homeland and followed Cooley Kickhams. But when son Martin became a player with Saint Patrick’s she turned into a supporter of the club.

She loved watching horse racing on the television and would engage in the odd flutter on big races like the Grand National. She enjoyed bingo, attending sessions in the parish and also at venues in Dundalk.

She also enjoyed playing cards, with 25 and whist her favourite games. Very attached to home, going to visit her daughter in Wexford or meeting up with her in Dublin was as far as she would venture.

She was a devout Catholic, and a lifelong pioneer. She recited daily the Rosary in the morning and her routine then was to read the daily newspaper. She attended weekly Mass on a Saturday evening, and was devoted to Saint Gerard and Saint Martin, attending the annual novenas in the Redemptorist and Friary Churches. She also had a devotion to Saint Brigid, being a regular visitor to the shrine in Faughart.

For the past ten years she was in the tender and dedicated care of the staff in St. Cecelia's Ward, Saint Oliver Plunkett Hospital where she reposed on the Thursday and then at home on the Friday. She was then removed to St. Mary's Church, Ravensdale on the Saturday.

Father Oliver Stanfield celebrated Requiem Mass and gave the eulogy. Burial followed in Calvary cemetery. Mary is sadly missed by husband, Leo, son Martin, daughter, Lynda,Wexford, daughter-in-law, Elaine, son-in-law, Paddy, grandchildren Lisa, Leanne, Eimear, Aisling and Dillon, sister Liley, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends

Mary's Months Mind Mass on Sunday, March 12th, in St. Mary's Church, Ravensdale at 11.30am.