Delia Walsh, Carramore, Taugheen, who died last week after a short illness, served as sacristan at St Michael’s Church, Taugheen, for 50 years up until her retirement in 2010. Delia, formerly Hynes from nearby Derrymore, held a special place in the affections of the local community over the decades as she was the one who ensured the smooth running of all activities relating to the church.
Delia attended Lehinch NS and later Claremorris Convent of Mercy. She and her husband Tom raised a fine family, all who have continued much to the community over the years. Delia was blessed with a kind and generous heart and she had a wonderful knowledge of the people of the Carramore and Taugheen region.
On the occasion of her retirement back in 2010, a special evening was held in her honour. Ger McHugh was the compere and he had his research done to perfection. He told the gathering that it was estimated that Delia had attended at least 15,000 Masses and opened and closed the church around 36,000 times or more.
“Delia and her husband Tom moved to Carramore in April, 1955 when Fr Michael Cribbin was the local curate. He was replaced by Fr James Mulrennan in June, 1955.
“Delia’s duty at the time was to open and close the church which had to be bolted from the inside and exit by the sacristy door. On one occasion she met Larry Morrin’s goat exiting the church. He had strayed over from Derryfad bog!
“Fr Mulrennan died in 1961 and is buried in the church grounds. He was replaced by Fr Tommy Cruise and his term saw the end of the Latin Mass. The dynamic Fr Anthony O’Toole arrived in 1968 and built the church car park and brought a new lease of life to Taugheen old hall.”
Ger brought many smiles to the congregation when he told them it was himself and Myles Fahey that drank the bottle of wine in 1968 when they were sent down from Taugheen NS to clean the church!
“Delia was now firmly installed as sacristan and made sure all was in tip top order for the various sacraments, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, for the important religious occasions, for the happy and sad times. She lit the candles, arranged the flowers and ensured that everything ran smoothly.
“Fr JJ Cribbin arrived in 1973 and was the catalyst for the reformation of Carramore GAA Club. Fr JJ, who won a National League medal with Mayo in 1970, was a dynamic full forward. His halftime pep talks were legendary and daily communicants were advised not to come within earshot. Regular supporter Crossboyne PP, Fr John Glynn, was kept at a discreet distance by his driver Stephen Walsh from Derrymore!
“Fr Arthur Devine arrived in 1979 and was an enthusiastic member of Carramore Gun Club. The year 1987 saw the arrival of Fr Denis Carney. As chairman of Taugheen Community Council, he took on the task of building Taugheen new hall and this was officially opened in 1993. Fr Paddy Healy spent six months in the parish in 1996 and was replaced by Fr Tom Higgins. Canon James Quinn arrived in 1998 and is the longest serving priest during Delia’s reign. He has kept the church in great repair and added many new features.”
ON that night in 2010, Delia told the gathering: “I enjoyed doing the job all through the years,” said Delia. “It was part of my life. It was always nice meeting the local people and visitors to the area. It was never a burden or anything like that. The years go by quickly. Sure I was only doing my job over the last 50 years.”
Large crowds attended the funeral ceremonies on both days. Reposing took place at her home in Carramore. Removal was from her home to St Michael’s Church, Taugheen with burial in Taugheen Cemetery following Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr James Quinn, Fr JJ Cribbin and Fr Denis Carney.
Delia will be sadly missed by her husband Tom, sons Seamus, Richie and TJ, daughters Maureen, Bridie, Eileen and Brenda, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her sister Mai Hynes, relatives and friends. M C.