Bridget Brennan

Mum of 13 from Kilteely who lived to 98 was a friend to one and all

Bridget Brennan

The late Bridget Brennan will forever remain in the hearts, minds and memories of those who knew her

THE PARISH of Emly lost a true character, and one of its best loved residents with the passing of the late Bridget (Biddy) Brennan on December 1  at St Anthony’s Nursing Home, Pallasgreen, at the great age of 98.

Her passing signalled the last link of the Fitzgerald family of Cromhill, Kilteely. She was born on May 14, 1918 to Patrick and Bridget Fitzgerald of Cromhill, Kilteely and was reared into a family of five girls (Maggie, Katie, Eileen, Joanne and Mary) and four boys (Dick, Patsy, Tom and Mick). 

Biddy’s longevity was passed on from her parents who lived well into their nineties. She didn’t have far to travel to meet her future husband Tommy Brennan of Emly, lived a short distance away.

On August 17, 1941, they cycled the journey to St Michael’s Church, Tipperary, to get married. After marrying Tommy, her beloved husband, they lived in the village of Emly until 1954. Soon afterwards they made their home in Gurteen on the outskirts of Emly village, where they spent their life happily raising their eight girls (Mary, Catherine, Chris, Breda, Frances, Joanne, Joan and Valerie) and five boys (Brian Kevin, Tom, Ailbe, Liam and Paddy).

The couple also had many wonderful friends and neighbours. Those who knew Biddy recognised her as a woman who was strong, faithful and true. She was a devoted wife and mother and loved to spend all her spare time with her family and neighbours. Biddy was a fantastic mother who loved her family dearly and many happy days and also many busy hours were spent nurturing a large family. Tragically Tommy passed away in 1989 after a short illness. Biddy took on the role of both parents.

There was more sadness with the death of her daughter Mary and grandson Kevin in 2000, and daughter Catherine in 2002. It took her a long time to come to terms with these sad events, but true to her character her desire to be strong for the rest of her family kept her going.

She enjoyed socialising and her family were always happy to take her out to the odd dance and music sessions in the local hostelries, where she became a well known character. The night usually finished with a sing-song and Biddy was in the thick of it. She was a woman with an easy going sense of humour, which she never lost. Throughout her life she touched many lives and will forever remain in the hearts, minds and memories of those who knew her. Family occasions were always special and Biddy was a guiding light and an inspiring presence. She loved her family and her family adored her. All of her grandchildren have wonderful memories of spending long summers with “their remarkable legend”. When they congregated together, as they often did, the craic was mighty.

Her home was a regular port of call for historians wishing to avail of her excellent recall of events from bygone days. Biddy loved when visitors called to her home, where they were always assured of the warmest of welcomes. She loved a good conversation. She lived independently for a long number of years and it was only shortly before her passing her family decided for security and health reasons her new home would be in St Anthony’s. Her stay was a happy one and she enjoyed the company of other residents. As a country woman the long trail of cows coming in for milking in the summer evenings nearby proved a great topic of conversation. The trains passing daily in the distance fascinated her because of her husband’s long service to CIE. Fittingly and perhaps in a gesture of encouragement from Tommy, a train stopped the funeral cortege from her journey to Ailbes Church at her removal.

Her family visited regularly in St Anthony’s, often coming from long distances to be by her side. But on December 1 with her daughters around her she was slipping from this world. While the end may have come, she has left behind a family of which she was proud but more importantly a family who are proud of her.

Her funeral was from Frazer’s funeral home Galbally to St Ailbe’s Church, Emly. Requiem Mass celebrated by her friend Fr Rochford with Fr Pat Burns and Fr Moloney. Readings were by her nephew and grandson and her grandchildren read the prayers of the faithful.

In his homily, Fr Rochford paid a glowing tribute. He recalled her life and described the huge, affable personality that everyone loved. She was a woman of strong faith, a loving wife, mother, hardworking, and who loved her family. The music and singing of the Emly Parish Choir enhanced a beautiful ceremony. Following Mass the eulogy was delivered by her son Ailbe who recounted the life and times of a mother and family life. The final tribute to Bridget’s life was a beautiful rendition of Kilcommon My Home, her favourite song, sang by her son Paddy.

Sympathies are extended to her children Liam, Tom, Ailbe, Joan, Paddy, Chris, Breda, Frances and Valerie, her 37 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and a wide circle of friends.

Gerard O’Connell