Eulogy for Eileen McGillicuddy ( nee Kelleher) by her daughter, Áine McGillicuddy on Thursday 25 Feb 2016 in the Church of St. Stephen & John, Castleisland.
Caithfidh mé buíochas ar leith a ghabháildo Helen Tangney agus do Mhúinteoir Pádraigín agus Tomás agus do chór álainn Ghaelscoil Aogáin a dhein jab iontach inniu. Táim cinnte gur bhain mo mháthair an-thaitneamh asaibh.
Rugadh mo mháthair sa Ghaeltacht I mBaile Mhúirne agus bhí Gaeilge ón gcliabhán aici. Ise a mhúscail grá agus meas ar an nGaeilge agus mé óg.
Love of the Irish Language
My mother was born in the Cork Gaeltacht of Ballyvourney in 1924 and it was she who enkindled a love of the Irish language in me as a youngster.
Her everyday language was regularly peppered with “h’anam an diabhail” and “mo léir cráite”. Her homeplace had the beautiful name of “Doirín Álainn” & she brought that with her to Castleisland, naming our house on Riverside Drive, “Doirín Álainn” & keeping her Baile Mhúirne origins alive.
In recent months she has reminisced about walking a half a mile to Sliabh Ríach National School, where Ms. Creedon & the Master presided over a two roomed school, with open fires in each.
Focus on Education
Education was always a priority for my mother and she insisted that lessons and schoolwork came first, not only with me but also with my friends, especially Siobhán O’Connell and Mary Browne, who would be closely questioned about their most recent test results, as she monitored their progress, along with my own.
This focus on education she carried on to the next generation & her grandchildren next door, Tadhg, Áilis & Ellen got their homework supervised by my mother in the afternoons. I think Eoghan must have been deemed to be a suitably studious student to have evaded that supervision!
Obituary: Eileen McGillicuddy (nee Kelleher) 31 May, 1924 – 23 February 2016. Late of Ballyvourney, Co. Cork; Riverside Drive, Castleisland & Sliabh Mis, Clahane, Ballyard, Tralee.
Eileen McGillicuddy (nee Kelleher) was born in the Ballyvourney Gaeltacht, Co. Cork, in 1924.
She was eighteen years of age when she went to England to train as a nurse. When she returned to Ireland, she worked as a district nurse in Enniskerry, Wicklow and Adrigole, Cork. She also worked as a district nurse in Tralee and it was here in the 1950s that she met her future husband, Gene McGillicuddy from Castleisland. Gene was a widower with four children; Owen, Tadhg, Helen and Joan. He had been married to Ellen (nee Brosnan) who died of TB, aged 41. Eileen and Gene went on to have two more children; Seán and Áine.
Gene worked as a building contractor and had an avid interest in fishing and shooting. He was also an active member of Castleisland Development Association.
Eileen and Gene were founding directors of Ballygarry House Hotel (formerly The Manhattan Hotel) in 1958, along with relatives; Kathleen Kelleher, Chris McGillicuddy, Ted Keane and Mick Allen.
Eileen had a strong and unwavering faith. She loved getting to daily Mass and more than one Mass a day if possible. As part of her devotion to her religion, she did pilgrimages in Lough Derg and Lourdes.
Eileen was very good with her hands and was particularly talented at sewing and knitting. Christmas stockings for the family regularly featured a knitted garment. She also loved a fast walk with her friend and neighbour, Maureen O’ Connell, as part of her daily routine.
Boutique Next Door
She loved style and had a Boutique next door to the house in Riverside Drive for a number of years.
A number of years after Gene’s death in 1992, she moved to Tralee to live with her daughter, Áine and her husband, David Buckley and their children Iseult, Donagh and Eoghan Ó Buachalla. The neighbours in Clahane, Ballyard were always very kind and caring towards Eileen.
In Tralee, Eileen was fortunate to gain a wonderful new family in The Rosemary Centre: Kay, Josephine, Katie, Joan, Margaret, Ann and Mervyn would refresh one’s faith in humanity. They are the essence of Christianity. Eileen’s day would start with Mervyn or one of the girls collecting her from the house and tucking her into their arm to get her safely to the bus. They loved her and cherished her and treated her with wonderful respect. She did keep them on their toes, however and ensured that not only the Rosary but The Angelus too were said daily. The staff of The Rosemary Centre made an enormous positive contribution to her life and the family is forever indebted to them.
Exceptionally Kind People
Two other exceptionally kind people in Eileen’s life in recent years were her hairdressers in Moyderwell; Bridie and Ann who were unfalteringly patient and courteous for the Saturday wash and set.
Eileen had a new home in Fatima since January of this year and she settled in very well there. She loved getting to Mass in the chapel every day and Rosary in the afternoon. She took part in the music sessions on Fridays with Derry with great enthusiasm and harking back to those Cork roots would sing The Banks of my own lovely Lee and her all- time favourite, The Bauld Thady Quill.
Warm and Welcoming
Fatima is warm and welcoming but it is the staff who were truly remarkable. They have been efficient and hard-working but more importantly, kind, caring gentle and focused on the needs, comfort and well-being of Eileen and all their residents. The family would like to thank most sincerely Mary Curtin and all the staff including Debbie, Nina Tangney Mary, Karen, Mary Pat, Chris Marcie, Kara, Sheila, Helen Tangney, Angela, Joan and Elaine, who were a tremendous support to Eileen and her family over the past while.
Bean uasal agus mhisniúil ab ae í. Bhí sí tuiscineach agus grámhar. Máthair ar leith ab ae í. Níl sa saol seo ach seal agus tá sí ar shlí na fírinne anois. Guímís suaimhnes síorraí uirthi. Ar dheis Dé do raibh a h-anam dílis.