OBITUARY: Remembering a special lady - Mena Gallagher, Derrybeg

A remarkable singer with a wide repertoire of beautiful Irish ballads

Mena Gallagher, Sheskinbeg

Remembering Mena Gallagher, Sheskinbeg

The death occurred at Letterkenny University Hospital on Sunday, October 18 of Mrs. Mena Gallagher, Sheskinbeg, Derrybeg.
Originally from Strakeenagh, Derrybeg she was born on May 16, 1939. She attended Derrybeg National School and she forged friendship with pupils there which continued up to the time of her demise.
Like most young people of her generation she emigrated to Scotland when she was aged 19 years. She worked for many years at Means Kirk Hospital in Glasgow.
Although her late husband, Patrick, who was a son of Hugh Mheabha Óig Gallagher, Sheskinbeg and Margaret née Deviorti, Aberdeen, was born in Glasgow, she first met him in Gaoth Dobhair.
She and Patrick married in Glasgow on September 21, 1961. After their marriage the couple lived and set up home in the Penilee area of Glasgow where two sons and two daughters were born to them.
The couple moved back to Ireland in the early 70’s to live in Patrick’s ancestral home at Sheskinbeg. This house was built over 150 years ago and they had it renovated and refurbished while retaining the old features of the building.
The old flag stoned floor in the kitchen has been retained as well as a staircase which led into the loft from the kitchen. An extension was added to the rear of the dwelling and the appearance of the front of the house had been left unchanged.
Although Mena spent many years living in Glasgow, she returned each summer to spend a few weeks at Sheskinbeg. She was a woman with a heart of gold. Every year she would bring over a number of children for a holiday in Gaoth Dobhair. Most of them were never on holidays up to then.
She loved going to bingo sessions and meeting people and having the craic.
She was a very friendly and sociable person and always had a friendly word with everyone.
She was a very popular individual and was well liked.
She was a very intelligent person and was blessed with a great memory. She was an expert in the field of helping people researching their family tree.
Above all she was a remarkable singer and had a wide repertoire of beautiful Irish ballads she learned at school.
She would be often called upon to sing a few verses at weddings and other functions she attended. She was a great conversationalist and had made many friends down through the years.
She and her late husband loved visiting people especially during the winter months. Many of them are now passed on. She was a good wife, mother and grand- mother and she will be sorely missed.
She was a woman of strong faith and was regular visitor to Mass and the sacrament up until recently. A virtuous woman she put her trust in God and had remained faithful to Him up to the end.
Her remains reposed at her Sheskinbeg home on Monday and was private to family members only due to the current Covid-19 restrictions.
Her concelebrated Requiem Mass was celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Derrybeg on Tuesday 20. The main celebrant was An Dr. Ró Oirmh. Pádraig Ó Baoighill, P.P., Gaoth Dobhair and concelebrants were, Fr. Seán Ó Gallchóir, P.P., Gortahork and Fr. Brian Ó Fearraigh, C.C., and Séiplineach Phobal Scoil Ghaoth Dobhair. The first lesson was read by Fr. Seán while Fr. Brian read the second lesson.
The prayers of the faithful were read by her daughter, Christine. The soloist was Emma Ní Fhíoruisce who also accompanied herself on guitar. At Communion Emma sang a beautiful and moving rendition of ‘My Lovely Dark Island’ which was Mena’s favourite song.
Her funeral took place afterwards to Magheragallon cemetery.
She was predeceased by her husband, Patrick in March 2019, also by her grandson, Colin McCorkindale six years ago and by her son-in-law, Colin Senior McCorkindale fourteen years ago. She was also predeceased by her parents Crochbhar Mór and Sarah Gallagher and by her brothers, Jimmy and Crochubhar Beag Gallagher and by her sisters, Bridie McGarvey and Kathleen Dunne.
She is survived by two sons, Patrick living in the United States and Michael in Scotland, two daughters, Christine McCorkindale (Sheskinbeg) and Sandra Strachan (Scotland), son- in-laws, daughters-in-law, grand-children, Jessica, Adam, Shauna and Oatis, nephews, nieces, family circle, relatives and many friends, to all of whom deep sympathy is extended.

- Tommy Curran

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