AS ROMANCES go, this was a late bloomer.
Six years ago a Limerick couple captured the hearts of the nation when they wed in their 80s.
It was finally time for Mary McGrath, 86, from Bengal Terrace, to walk down the aisle and take the hand of Martin Considine, 83, from St Mary’s Park, after their romance blossomed over cups of tea in the day care centre at the Good Shepherd. Sadly, the couple got to spend just one Christmas together as Martin passed away four months after they married due to an illness. He passed away shortly before St Valentine’s day in 2006.
Last week, his widow Mary, aged 92, passed away in the Milbrae Lodge nursing home in Newport. The couple made the front pages of the Limerick Leader, as well as national headlines, when they got married on October 22, 2005.
“She was just an inspiration to everyone. It just goes to show you can’t be written off at 86 and you don’t know what’s around the corner,” said Mary’s niece, Patricia McGrath.
Patricia, who is one of Mary’s 56 nephews and nieces, delighted in being her aunt’s bridesmaid on the day, at the age of 53.
Mary, who worked as a seamstress in Todd’s in Limerick until the age of 63, never married until she met Martin, whom she had known for many years. Martin’s first wife, Mary Ellen, had passed away six years before he married Mary.
The pensioners got married in St John’s Cathedral and enjoyed a reception afterwards in the Castletroy Park Hotel, where Mary also enjoyed her 80th and 90th birthday celebrations.
Ms McGrath said her aunt was “like a two-year-old the day she got married”, as she was the last member of a family of 14 to wed.
“She was a first time bride at the age of 86. At the end of her life she was just delighted to get married. Hundreds of people came out to see here on the day. It was a great atmosphere and a big wedding as they wanted everyone there. She was just a great character. We’ll miss her hugely,” said Patricia. “They were going out together for about three to four years and then they decided to get married,” she explained.
At the time Mary said of the proposal: “I was speechless. I thought about it for a few seconds and said I would. We don’t care what anyone else thinks. Age doesn’t count at all, it is the way you feel yourself.
“We’re both from the city, enjoy a joke and a laugh and are happy to keep each other company.” The pair moved into a house on Bengal Terrace and Martin built his new bride a porch as a wedding gift. Her niece praised the staff of the nursing home for their care of her since this February, as well as the Carlton Castletroy Park Hotel, where she enjoyed many celebrations.