By Charlie Keegan
THE sudden death occurred at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise on Monday 22 June of Mary McWey (née Tynan), Sleaty House, Sleaty, Carlow. While Mary had mixed health in the past five years, she had been in great spirits in the months leading up to her untimely passing.
Born on 28 February 1939 in the townland of Killure near Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, Mary’s parents Martin and Johanna (née Gittons) Tynan were of proud farming stock, which gave Mary a lifelong love of farming and particularly of animals.
She had one brother, John, to whom she was very close, but who predeceased her some years ago. Her extended Tynan family were hugely important to her; Auntie Kathleen, Maggie and Susie were like grandparents to Mary and her family, whom they doted on.
Mary met Jim McWey at a showband dance and both carried with them a love of dance and music. Mary loved Brendan Bowyer, the Clancy Brothers, Frank Patterson and country and western music. They married on 8 September 1964 and had three children ‒ Yvonne, James and John. Mary loved being a farmer’s wife and made the most of her beloved Aga cooker with gorgeous baking. Until recently, Mary baked brown bread every day and her flaky pastry tarts were legendary. She was so house-proud and relished tackling the flower garden. She loved animals, always having dogs … her beloved Millie died last year after 18 years … and adored Sally the sheepdog and Rua, the most recent addition.
Mary continued to be a proud Kilkenny hurling supporter and an avid showjumping fan. She loved style and was always stylish; she took enormous pride in what she wore and how she looked.
For many years, Mary volunteered in St Fiacc’s House, Graiguecullen with Josie Dowling. Mary always loved a chat and conversation and was never short of anything to say, while her wide network of friends were always so important to her.
Over recent years, Mary battled bad health but, against the odds, always rallied. She seemed to have ‘nine lives’. Over the past two years she built a very close bond with her carers, particularly Carol, Helen and Sarah, who provided much support to her for those final two years of her life.
Her belief and faith were so important to Mary. Up to a few years ago she was a daily Mass-goer and continued to say the Rosary every day. Her faith gave her sustenance and courage to face her illness with fortitude. She loved her visits to the Poor Clares in Graiguecullen and always asked them to pray for special intentions for everyone.
She also loved her annual visit to Knock shrine and indeed went there last year with Yvonne and John. Mary had a very peaceful (but very sudden) passing and was blessed to have her family around her. She was in no pain.
Her funeral service was officiated by Fr John Dunphy, PP, Graiguecullen-Killeshin in St Clare’s Parish Church, Graiguecullen with co-celebrants Mgr Brendan Byrne (former rector of Knockbeg College, where the McWey family have a long association); Fr Paul O’Boyle, PP, Clane, who was a curate with the late Fr John McWey in Kilcock ‒ Fr John was Mary’s brother-in-law; and Fr Gerry Byrne, retired PP, Graignamanagh, a relative of Mary’s.
Jade and Jessica Nolan sang beautiful renditions of Mary’s favourite hymns.
Mary was laid to rest in Sleaty Cemetery following Mass, with Fr Dunphy reciting the final prayers at the graveside. Mary, who was predeceased in January 1997 by husband Jim, is deeply mourned by her daughter Yvonne, sons James and John, daughter-in-law Marguerite; brother and sister-in-law, Charlie and Lily (née McWey) McDonald (Ballyroan, Co Laois); sister-in-law Eileen McWey (Celbridge); by nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and a wide circle of friends.