Mary ‘Maria’ Reidy, (1922 – 2020) – Cherished Wife, Mother and Grandmother

The late Mary ‘Maria’ Reidy’s grand-daughter, Marisa Reidy wrote this loving tribute to her nan who died last month just short of her 98th birthday. In doing so, Marisa paints a life of industriousness, contentment and appreciation of her immediate environment and the family, neighbours and friends she shared it with.

Mary (Maria) Reidy – 1922-2020 ‘Cherished wife, mother and grandmother who loved the simple life’

Born in Glenlara, Newmarket in County Cork in September 1922, Mary (nee McAuliffe) made the move to Kerry in the mid 1940s where she began working at the AI Station in Castleisland.

A loving tribute by her grand-daughter, Marisa Reidy

It wasn’t long before she caught the eye of Jack Reidy from Knockeen, a local farm labourer who she went on to marry in Castleisland Parish Church in 1950 – sharing their big day in a joint wedding ceremony with Jack’s sister Betty.

Moved to London

The couple moved to London the same year, welcoming their oldest of four children, Denis, in 1952. Two years later, Mary and Jack returned to Kerry and set up home in Camp Road, Castleisland.

A year later, their second son Dan was born, followed in 1959 by twin daughters Eileen and Mary – not a complete surprise, given that Mary was herself a twin. Her sister Nelly predeceasing her in 1982.

Cherished Children and Family

Anyone who knew Mary knew how important her family was to her and why she prided herself on being a simple homemaker, who cherished her children and family life.

Never one for extravagant things, Mary enjoyed some of life’s basic pleasures such home baking and cooking hearty dinners.

She never shied away from the hard graft either and was often seen helping Jack making hay or setting potatoes in the back fields.

Got Around on her Bicycle

She never learned to drive, but instead got around on her bicycle – whether visiting her children or popping to town for messages.

Mary and Jack would also travel back to north Cork on the bus quite regularly and even made a few return trips to London by boat to visit Jack’s family there. Neither ever travelled by plane.

Mary loved bingo and she and Jack were not only regular players in Castleisland, but also travelled the length and breadth of Kerry and even West Limerick by bus to local community centres with bingo books and pens in hand.

It was a social outing they loved with neighbours and friends.

Waltzing or Jiving Across the Floor

In fact, Mary held her neighbours extremely dear and never took their kindness and generosity for granted – whether they were just popping in for tea and some apple tart (nobody ever left her house without a cuppa!!) or offering her lifts to town if ever she needed them.

She and Jack loved to dance – and whether it was a family wedding, anniversary, christening or birthday, they were guaranteed to be found waltzing or jiving across the floor with smiles from ear to ear.

Bingo and Castleisland Day Care Centre

Mary lost her beloved husband Jack in 1992 and while her heart was undoubtedly broken at losing her only true love, with the help of her children and extended family she went on to live a very happy, independent life.

She returned to bingo and attended Castleisland Day Care Centre for close to 10 years where she loved to spend time with fellow visitors and staff.

She always looked forward to her next visit – a testament to the fun, love and care she enjoyed while there.

A Doting Nan

Mary was a doting Nan to her 15 grandchildren and equally adored her 15 great grandchildren, who will forever remember her hearty hugs and kisses every time she met them.

She had the biggest heart and loved being around them and showered them constantly with smiles, laughter and happiness.

While she was never one for a fuss, she enjoyed many family occasions with family and friends – most notably her 80th birthday in Sheahan’s Bar in Beaufort and her 90th in the Earl of Desmond Hotel, Tralee.

While she may have cursed being the focus of attention at both events – they were occasions that she adored and that showcased the love that everyone had for her.

An Extremely Healthy Life

Mary was blessed with an extremely healthy life, no doubt helped by the fact that she never drank or smoked and walked and cycled everywhere. A lesson to us all, perhaps!

Unfortunately, old age would eventually catch up with Mary, with her four children taking on her full time care at her home in Camp Road in 2015.

In late 2018, she moved to Riverside Nursing Home in Abbeydorney , where she received exceptional care and kindness until her peaceful passing, surrounded by her four children, on June 21st 2020.

May She Rest In Peace

While her death four months shy of her 98th birthday was heartbreaking for her family and friends who loved her dearly, there is peace in the knowledge that she was a woman of huge faith, who had full trust in God and who never feared death.

May she now be rewarded in Heaven.

May she rest in peace.