Eulogy for Bridget Mary O’Neill (January 5, 1932 to May 5, 2020)
Mrs Bridget O'Neill from Bridgend was laid to rest last week. Due to the current circumstances only, immediate family were able to attend the Requiem Mass and Burial in St Mura's Church Fahan.
Bridget’s son Dermot asked that the following Eulogy and Poem written in her memory be shared:
“Bridget Mary McKenna was the middle child, one of three sisters, Roseanna was the eldest and Agatha the youngest. Home for them was a farm just outside Maghera in a part of Fallagloon known locally as the Quarter.
“The area was and still is full of McKenna’s and their family were distinguishable by the name ‘The Scotchie McKennas’.
“They were dealt a cruel blow at an early age when first their father, Hugh, died and then within a few years their mother, Alice. Mammy was just 11 years old when they were orphaned. Fortunately, they had an Uncle, Fr Mick McKenna, and he brought them to live with him in the Parochial House in Bocan just outside Culdaff.
“One of her childhood memories there was playing shop with Agatha in the yard, much to the disgust of Fr Mick who insisted they should get back to their books and their study. This playing shop with cardboard boxes and cartons was a foretaste of what she would become.
“Mammy’s first foray into business was as a shop assistant in Crooks on the Strand Road. She stayed in digs in Derry during the week and around this time she met Bertie at a dance in Derry. They fell in love and got married in Bocan and built a home in Bridgend where daddy grew up.
“They both shared a passion for business and at one time had two pubs and two shops on the go in Bridgend. As well helping to run the business she brought up a family of four boys, Declan, Pearse, Bert and I. Eventually they settled for running just a shop and worked tirelessly from 9 in the morning to 10 at night, seven days a week.
“Above all, for me, mammy had a wicked sense of humour and even near the end of her life in the Nazareth House, some of the wonderful carers there would have great crack and banter with her and would ask “Bridget, do you think I would be any good at selling winning lottery tickets?” and another would ask “Bridget, would I be any good at serving pokes of ice cream?” Her reply to all would be “You’d be useless”.
“Finally, as frustrating and as disconcerting as it is having only ten people here today and being unable to have a proper celebration of her life, I truly believe she is looking down on us with a wry smile because she never liked being the centre of attention, she left that role to daddy, so she would be delighted to be able to have a quiet goodbye and slip away gently without a fuss to be reunited with Bertie, her partner in love and life.”
By Dermot Gerard O’Neill
PS. She only ever called me by my full name ‘Dermot Gerard’ when I was in big trouble!
Ode to Granny O
Bridget Mary O’Neill,
sure there never was the kind,
who owned a Jaegar coat,
and frequented Musgraves for a find.
She reared four young boys,
my dad the eldest one,
he was a gentle, loving soul,
always mad for football fun!
O’Neill’s, the little shop,
that business was her life,
she heard all the weekly gossip,
and stood by the place through all her strife.
The lotto, fishing and the pokes,
they were the talk of the land,
sure Winning Streak was all the rage,
eleven jackpot winners to hand!
She was one who counted pennies,
the punts and the cents,
sure she was always after a bargain,
she had a lot of sense!
Granny was a woman of Bridge End,
a well known lady,
the gardaÍ, the priest and the locals too,
and even wee Sadie.
Many years I worked with granny,
I got to know her well,
‘a coat with a hood’ is essential, she preached,
especially in the January sales!
A pencil and paper was all she’d need,
a calculator was just a faff,
her exchange rate was always off the cuff,
she wasn’t a bit daft!
Granny’s meals were always delicious,
Sunday lunch was a treat,
potatoes were standard protocol,
some veg in lard and a good bit of meat!
So our granny will not be forgotten,
there’s no need to shed a tear,
her thriftiness and thranness will always be found,
in her grandchildren far and near!
to our Granny O
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