By Charlie Keegan
CARMEL Nolan, ‘Shalom’, Chapelstown, Tullow Road, Carlow died peacefully in Carlow District Hospital on Wednesday 7 October. The former Carmel Meaney was a proud native of Leighlinbridge, Carlow, where the Meaney family are long-established publicans.
She came from a loving family background, being the second youngest of 11 children – six girls and five boys – born to the late Jeremiah and Helena (née Carpenter) Meaney. Having received her primary education in the local national school in Leighlinbridge, Carmel attended secondary school in the Brigidine Convent, Tullow.
Carmel was a gentle, loyal, loving lady who loved people and company, especially her Meaney and Nolan families.
She undertook an office and secretarial course in Dublin, but her love for her native village and family in Leighlinbridge brought her home. During this time she nursed her mother, who was ill at the time, and sadly passed away under Carmel’s care and love.
Carmel then obtained employment with the legal firm of Des Early Solicitors (PJ Byrne) in Dublin Street, Carlow. She loved working in the busy solicitor’s office, which she combined with working in the family bar in Leighlinbridge at night.
In 1965, she met Paddy (PJ) Nolan at a dance in the Ritz Ballroom. The event was the Carlow Shop Assistants Dance with music by the famous Mick Delahunty Orchestra. Dancing was to become a favourite pastime for PJ and Carmel.
It was love at first sight for them both, and following an 18-month courtship they married on 30 August 1966 in St Lazerian’s Church, Leighlinbridge. Afterwards, the wedding guests enjoyed a reception in the Clubhouse Hotel, Kilkenny. They spent the next two weeks honeymooning around Ireland.
The Nolans settled in Paddy’s home place of Wolfhill, Co Laois on a temporary basis, where their first child Pádraig was born. In 1968, they bought their home in Chapelstown on the Tullow Road, where they lived happily for 54 years. Fergal, Aisling and Mark were born over the next few years.
It is here that PJ started a heating and plumbing business in Carlow town. They both built the business together, PJ working outside supplying heating and plumbing supplies to Carlow town and district, while Carmel looked after the company books. This is where Carmel was at her happiest, at home in Shalom with her children and running the house.
Carmel was a great mother and loved her four children passionately and unconditionally. PJ and Carmel enjoyed family holidays together and when the children were grown-up they enjoyed foreign travel and annual trips with the Irish Hardware Association. During this period, they made lifelong friends and retained amazing memories.
Carmel was always interested in fashion trends and enjoyed supporting her local boutiques and shops. She was a devoted wife and was happiest in her kitchen, with the kettle always on for whomever would call.
Carmel was a passionate and caring woman, known for her witty sayings, quotes, advice and one-liners. Every happy family occasion was always celebrated at home.
PJ and Aisling, supported by the boys, were a wonderful source of support to Carmel throughout her illness. She met illness with a smile and no complaints, having lived her life with a positive attitude and great dignity. Sadly, she lost her battle for life on Wednesday 7 October.
Carmel was waked at home, where prayers were led by her lifelong friend Mgr Brendan Byrne. The Rosary was led by Bishop Denis Nulty.
Her funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday morning, 10 October, in the Church of the Holy Family, Askea, where she was a regular Mass-goer, being a woman of deep faith and spirituality. The Mass was limited in numbers by the Covid-19 regulations.
Neighbours and friends formed a guard of honour along the Tullow Road for Carmel’s final journey to Askea Church.
Mgr Byrne was chief celebrant of the Mass, assisted by Fr Tom Little, PP, Fr Tommy Dillon, CC, and Fr Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh, president of Carlow College.
The readings at Mass were by Monica (daughter-in-law) and Shane Nolan (grandson), while the Prayers of the Faithful were recited by Zac and Millie Nolan, Ali Donoghue and Niamh Nolan (grandchildren). Aisling (daughter) spoke lovingly of her mam after Holy Communion. The singing of hymns was by Catriona Kelly and organist was Claire Cashin.
Following Mass, Carmel was laid to rest in Bennekerry Cemetery.
Carmel is survived by her broken-hearted husband Paddy (PJ), sons Padraig, Fergal and Mark and daughter Aisling (all Carlow), her sisters Theresa (Dublin) and Jenny (Nurney) and her nine adored grandchildren Saoirse, Padraic, Shane, Niamh, Zac, Millie, Ollie, Ali and Mia, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, neighbours and friends.
Carmel was predeceased by her brothers and sisters Ned, Tom, Tim, Nan, Ber, Peig, Sr Mary Joseph and Fr Joe Meaney.
The Month’s Mind Mass for Carmel Nolan was celebrated on Saturday 7 November in the Church of the Holy Family, Askea.