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26 May 2022

Obituary: God molded 'a lot of special parts' into Limerick woman Mary

Obituary: God molded 'a lot of special parts' into Limerick woman Mary

The late Mary Kerins

WHEN Mary Kerins of Ballybrood passed away in her 92nd year just before Christmas it evoked recollections of that wonderful old Irish melody “A Mother’s Love is a Blessing”.

Her three daughters received that mother’s love and blessing. And that same mother’s touch was shared with many more people who she chanced to meet during her long life.

The late Mary could be described as a tonic – effusing a spirit of life that is only present in very special people. One would wish just to have a dram or two of it.

At her Funeral Mass at Caherline Church, Fr Roy spoke movingly and referred to her freedom of spirit – he said “there was a sense of wild enchantment about her” adding that “God molded into Mary a lot of special parts”.

Spending time in the late Mary’s company would exhaust the energy of your facial muscles for she entertained you with a repertoire of songs, stories and great cracking jokes and anecdotes. Time was spent but never wasted for she lived every minute of it. She liked to entertain, and one would not have to ask her twice to hit the notes. She had a fine singing voice and did not need to be encouraged to belt out a few bars of the many old songs she learned in her early days.

Blessed with good health until the last few weeks of her life she held a proud boast that she never visited a doctor in her life. When she entered as a resident at St Michael’s Nursing Home in Caherconlish she at once settled down and became one of the family of residents. There wasn’t a day that would go by that Mary would not break into song. She loved her music always.

On one occasion the Nursing Home was visited by singer Finbarr Furey and Mary took over the show while Finbarr just played the music and she sang to her heart's content. She was a very good set dancer and along with her late uncle, Tom Walsh, the ‘Barefooted Runner’ formed as partners in the Caherline Set Dance Group over a number of years.

She imparted to her daughters the same love of dance and song and encouraged them to take part in the social life of the parish and its associations. She held some great sayings and, on a birthday occasion a member of staff wished her a happy 90th birthday and Mary acknowledging replied “the same to yourself when your time comes”

Things Irish and Ireland were to the forefront of her life’s passage on this earth. Tasks such as going to shops, hurling games and to social outings and gatherings on the back of her late husband, Christy’s Honda 50 motorcycle was a regular experience. As she said one time that Christy and herself wore out about sixteen of them. They were an inseparable couple, always together. Green was her favourite colour and her taste in fashion could be said to be forty shades of it.

Her house on the Hill never saw another colour paint - only green. She was very proud of her home and neighbourhood and no matter where she visited, she let it be known where her heart lay.

Her funeral Mass at Caherline on December 20 last was celebrated by Fr Roy Donovan PP along with Fr Pat Currivan AP, a lifelong friend. Following Mass, she was buried in the church cemetery at Caherconlish and at her graveside a deserved tribute was paid to her in music and song.

She is sadly missed by her daughters, Mary, Nancy and Brigid. sons-in-law, adoring grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nephews and niece. Mary will be forever loved and dearly remembered by her brother David, relatives, neighbours, a large circle of friends. She was a woman steeped in a love of Irish Culture. Mary was one of those special Mna na hEireann that embodied the best of Irish womanhood. In closing the last words must be Mary’s - for after every song she ever sang she closed with “Up Caherline”. Ni beidh a leithead ann aris. May she rest in peace.

-Patrick Hourigan

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