THERE are milestones in life and indeed in marriages. Yet one Dundalk husband and wife team have set a set a milestone that will take some beating.
Ignatius and Molly McGee celebrated their 70 wedding anniversary, and their marriage can truly be called a testament to what has been a life devoted to each other.
70 years on from their marriage in 1942, the couple gathered with their children at their family home at Number 1, Fatima Drive. First born son Paddy, Michael, Maire, Ignatius Jnr, Brendan and Colm all gathered around for the celebrate their anniversary, presenting their parents with flower and celebratory cake.
Ignatius (96) and Molly (95) lives together have bore witness to some of the most momentus historical events of the 20th century. Born just five months apart during the year of the Easter Rising 1916, the couple first met in the 1930s at a dance at the Hibernian Hall, and haven’t been apart since.
Indeed Molly still has the present Ignatius, aka Nashie, had first given her, a pair of gauntlet gloves.
The couple got engaged in 1939, the day the Second War broke out in Europe. Three years later the couple wed in St Patrick’s Cathedral, during the height of the Emergency.
“They got married at 8am, the 7th marrige of the day,” recounts Maire. “In those days there was no butter or sugar to be had in the South, and Ignatius would have bring sugar and butter home from the Belfast where he worked.”
Ignatius was a brick layer by trade, and was known across the town as a hard working man, who was self employed and always busy. A lifelong member of the Clan na Gaels football club, he even built the Clan Wall voluntarily in 1963, and was made a Honoury President of the organisation for a lifetime of service to the club.
“In all the year’s they were married, they never had a row. Molly always said that you should never go to bed on a row,” says Paddy, their eldest son.
According to Michael “Ignatius never touched a drop, he was a Pioneer all his life, though he was always the first to get a round in, though he would always get someone else to go to the bar. He had no interest in the world of the bar.”
“He’d always have a drink for anyone who visited the house, though he would poison people because he had no idea of a measurement,” jokes Ignatius Jnr. “That said, he would always make Molly some punch if she had a touch of a cold.”
Unlike Ignatius Molly was always partial to tipple of whiskey.
“They lived a simple life and they never wanted for anything,” says Brendan. “Ignatius always said if someone suggested they move that “sure why would I move”. He had a two sheds in the back here which until recently he would still go and potter around in.”
They were and are fun loving couple and would have parties around at their house for their friends. If there were too many people, they would simple move it to the local school hall. Now they are love nothing more then seeing their 17 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren or indeed their two great-great-grandchildren. Indeed the couple have five generations of descendents that they love to see.
“They still can’t bear to be apart,” says Colm, their youngest, who cares for them at their home. “When I would take Molly up to bed, she would immediately want to know where Ignatius was and when he was coming up.”
It is clear from meeting the couple and their children, that their family home is a treasure chest of happy memories for what is a tight-knit family.
“We have always been a close family. Ignatius and Molly have a good, healthy life together. They still sit together hand in hand of an afternoon.”
And that says it all really.