The Late Mary O’Connell, Nee Marie Nolan, Aherla and late of Castleisland

The Late Mary O’Connell, Aherla and formerly of Ballincollig and late of Castleisland. Marie Nolan as we, in Castleisland knew her in the photograph of her passing out after her army training in 1981 and (right) in a more recent photograph.

The death has occurred of Mary O’Connell, Aherla and formerly of Ballincollig, Co. Cork  and late of Castleisland, Co. Kerry.

On October 26th 2021, peacefully, at Marymount University Hospital and hospice.

Surrounded by her loving family, Mary, nee Nolan, loving mother of Liam, Stephen, Anne-Marie and Laura, fond grandmother of Kayleigh, Jack and Gracie Mai.

Sadly missed by her loving family, partner Patrick, mother Kathleen Nolan, son-in-law Gianluca, grandchildren, brother John, sister Catherine, relatives and friends.

She is predeceased by her father, Joe Nolan and is survived by her mother, Kathleen, brother Johnny and sister Catherine Sugrue. Rest in Peace.

Lying in repose at Crowley’s Funeral Home, Ballincollig. Visitation on Thursday 28th from 6pm to 7pm. Requiem Mass at 11am on Friday in the Church of St. Mary and St. John, Ballincollig followed by cremation in the Island Crematorium, Ringaskiddy. Please adhere to current government guidelines at all funeral services.

Date Published: Tuesday 26th October 2021. Date of Death: Tuesday 26th October 2021.

Marie Nolan – as we knew her

The late Mary O’Connell or Marie Nolan as we knew her in Castleisland before she, and a small few other Irish women, made the groundbreaking move in the early 1980s in joining the Irish army.

Marie’s army choice was big news in Kerry in 1981 and The Kerryman did a comprehensive report on her as the first Kerry woman to choose this career path. The report is as follows:

Marie Nolan: The First Kerry Woman to Join the Irish Army

Castleisland’s Maria Nolan is Kerry’s first and only female entrant in the Army. She was sworn-in in June 1981 and passed out after basic training in October of that year.

Maria (21) from St. Stephen’s Park, Castleisland was assigned to the 3rd Garrison Transport Company in Collins Park, Cork where she is now working in the food distribution office.

She is in a non-combat role, as are all the women in the Army, but underwent the same basic training – less some of the more physical aspects as the men.

This consisted of physical training, marching and arms drill, tactics and obstacle course.

A First Class Private

Maria is now a first class private and the badges on her smart army green uniform indicate her status. She hasn’t decided yet what to specialise in but her immediate ambition is to get overseas service.

She feels satisfied in her army life “it’s a full life” she said adding that she particularly liked the availability of sports facilities.

Maria has no army blood running in her veins, being the first member of her family to enlist. Her brother who is in the FCA was the closest contact she had with the armed forces.

Past Pupil of St. Joseph’s

That type of life always appealed to Maria, a past pupil of St. Joseph’s School, Castleisland. Before joining up she worked in a local drapery shop and did part-time work as a welfare instructor in the Civil Defence.

She saw in the army a chance to work in a team and to experience a different type of lifestyle and challenge.

First Platoon of Girls

Her job now isn’t dramatically different from one in civilian life, she works a five day 48 hour week and has three weeks annual leave, but it’s exciting because she and the 27 others who passed out with her in the Army’s first platoon of girls are breaking new ground.

However, they’re being helped along the way by their male counterparts who, according to Maria have accepted them. “They have been very helpful,” she added.

May God be Good to her.

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