She lived through two world wars, the Easter Rising, War of Independence, saw the birth of a new Republic, and when she died last month in her 105th year, Clare Hanratty was one of the longest ever surviving residents of Dundalk.
Born in 1915 to Thomas and Bridget Mulligan from the Avenue Road, Clare was a remarkable lady in that she enjoyed almost all of her faculties to the end and was able to converse with family members until her final days.
She herself was a member of a family of ten and had eight children, seven of whom survive her, along with 24 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
When Clare married her beloved husband, Vincent in 1943 she married into the well known Hanratty family grocery and licensed business in Clanbrassil Street where Vincent (Vin) ran the business until his death in 1977.
Clare's love of music was nurtured at a young age and she went on to teach music for many years, and instil in her children her passion for music.
A quiet, reserved lady, Clare led a very active life and fostered a deep thirst for knowledge, for she was an avid reader, a keen crossword enthusiast, and took a great interest in people and the town in which she lived all of her long and fruitful life.
Family was central to Clare's life, and she dedicated her life to the well being and education of her children, seven of whom, Patricia (Cork), Sinead (Dundalk), John (Dundalk), Maria (Dundalk), Anne (Chester), Eileen (Sunderland) and Vin (Dundalk) survive her.
Sadly she suffered deeply when she lost her son, Kevin (Bellurgan) a few years ago. She is also survived by her sons-in-law, Alex, Gerry, Pat, Arthur and Colm, daughters-in-law, Rosemary, Jane and Petrina as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.
She was predeceased by her brothers, Jack (Demesne Terrace), Tommy (Avenue Road), Father Kevin OP. (Sligo), Vincent (Dublin) and Anthony (Bay Estate), sisters, Cissie Lennon (Dublin), May (Glenwood), Alice Baldwin (Jenkinstown) and Lena Rice (Saint Alphonsus Road).
Clare resided at her home in Belfry Crescent having moved there some years ago from the family home, 'Lima' on the Avenue Road, and with the loving support of her family remained in her home and in relatively good health until recently when she had to be admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
She subsequently was moved to the Louth County Hospital where she died on December 4th in the loving care of staff.
Clare's remains were removed to McGeough's Funeral Home and reposed in Saint Joseph's Church after evening prayers led by Rev. Eamonn Kavanagh, CSsR. with Very Rev. Padraig Keenan, PP Haggardstown in attendance.
Requiem Mass was celebrated by Very Rev. Noel Keogh, CSsR., Adm., Saint Joseph's , who, in his eloquent eulogy, reflected on Clare's remarkable long life, and the changes she encountered during her years.
Members of Clare's family gave the Readings and led the Prayers of Intercession.
Burial took place in Saint .Patrick's cemetery.