A warm and caring person - Mary Murphy
Mary Murphy (nee McSharry), who died on Thursday, January 28, peacefully at Aras MhicShúibhne Nursing Home, Laghey, had an unmistakable elegance to her, but, backing up that striking presence was a warm, caring, generous, wonderful woman who will be missed deeply by her loved ones, her many friends and neighbours and the wider community in Ballyshannon and Bundoran.
She loved clothes and fashion, she always dressed beautifully and looked fantastic. There's a lyric from a song in the musical Annie that runs: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile” and while a smile and Mary were no strangers to each other, in Mary’s case she was never fully dressed without her pearl clip-on earrings. One of the first things she did in the morning was put them on, ready to meet the new day - in a way her signature; those who knew her best say they cannot picture her without those iconic clip-on pearl earrings.
90 years young, she spent all but the final few weeks of her life in the family home at 3 Belleek Road, Ballyshannon and it was a happy home, a place where all were made feel welcome.
But, much as she lived a full and happy life in Ballyshannon, there was part of Mary that never left her native Bundoran. She loved the town of her birth and one song in particular, Beautiful Bundoran, was always close to her heart.
A daughter of Bernard and Annie McSharry, she was born in the family cottage beside Simpson’s Supermarket in Bundoran.
Mary left Bundoran to work in Dublin. She worked in the Shelbourne Hotel for a spell and then moved to work in Howth, at the St Lawrence Hotel. At this stage she was in her early twenties.
When Mary’s mother Annie took ill, she returned home to Bundoran and worked in the Sheen Hotel in the West End, which allowed her to look after her mother.
In time Mary met Bandon-born Con Murphy. Con, however, had lived so long in Tralee that locally here in Ballyshannon he was always regarded as a Kerry man. Con came here on the back of the Hydro Electric Scheme at Cathaleen’s Fall and Cliff and worked a lifetime here for the ESB.
Mary and Con would marry and they lived in what we would know now as the late Mrs Eileen Sweeny’s house on the West Port. Mary and Con’s eldest son John was born there.
In time they moved to one of the ‘ESB’ houses at No 3, Belleek Road where Michael and Mary were born.
It was a happy home, a close family friend told me how she loved spending time there. The Murphys were always good company and good neighbours.
Mary and Con were devoted to each other and their three children. The death of Michael and the loss of Con shattering moments of sadness for all.
One of her great passions was the game of Bridge and she loved nothing more than a game with her regular set of friends. I’m told the cards were often only a prop to the real fun when this foursome met up.
Having lived a long life, her family today are particularly grateful to all the wonderful carers who made it possible for Mary to spend her recent years happy in her own home. To the lovely staff of Aras MhicShúibhne who cared for Mary in her final weeks, they also wish to extend their thanks.
A private funeral took place on Saturday in the Star of the Sea Church, Bundoran. The funeral cortege proceeded to the Lakeland Crematorium, Cavan for service of cremation.
Mary will be very sadly missed by her son John, Dublin; daughter Mary, Chicago; daughter-in-law, Colette; son-in-law, Peter; grandchildren, Gráinne, Ciarán and Lilianna (Lil). Mary is predeceased by her husband Con and son Michael.
May she rest in peace.
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