Culleen, Kilsallagh, Westport
Bridget O’Malley (nee Baynes) passed away peacefully at her home on October 13, surrounded by family.
Bridget was born on January 25, 1925, to Ann and Patrick Baynes Durless, Kilsallagh, Westport.
She was the youngest of a family of twelve, she had five sisters and six brothers. She is predeceased by her husband Thomas, son Eugene, grandchild Norena, and her sisters Teresa Walsh, Culleen; Katie Grady, Leeds; Annie Davitt and Agnes Kerrigan, USA; and her brothers, Eddie Baynes, Durless; John, Dublin; Patrick, USA; Joe and Austin, Wales and infants, Michael and Mary Ellen.
She is survived by her daughters, Maria Gallagher, Noreen O’Malley, Ena Scahill, and Bernie Gibbons; sons P Joe, Thomas, James, Liam, Austin, and Eamon, all who reside locally except Eamon, who lives in Calgary, Canada. Also many nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great grandchild, step-grandchildren and great step-grandchildren in Ireland, England, Wales, America and Canada.
Bridget grew up in Durless and attended Bouris National School until the age of 14. In her teen years she helped her parents on the farm and served in the little shop which the family owned, keeping the books in order. For leisure, Bridget liked cycling and thought nothing of cycling the rugged Maum road to the dances in Drummin and to Louisburgh and surrounding areas. She would also cycle to Killeen to visit friends and relations and in the 1950s she played on the Bouris Camogie Team. Prior to the annual pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick, she assisted her father and brothers bringing up the beverages on the donkeys to sell to the many pilgrims on the summit. She would stay overnight, attending in the tent.
In the late 1940s, Bridget met Thomas O’ Malley from Culleen, and was married in 1951. They set up home in Culleen and raised a family of eleven, four girls and seven boys.
Life was good, as well as raising the family, they both worked on the farm as it was their main source of income. Thomas also worked on the buildings in the surrounding areas. Bridget was very self sufficient, knitting, dress making, cooking and baking and used all farm produce necessary to provide the family in everyday life.
In September 1971, sadly for Bridget and her family, her husband Thomas passed away at the age of 52, leaving Bridget a young widow at the age of 46 to raise the family, the youngest being four years and eldest 19 at the time. It was a difficult time for her but her strong belief in God and positive outlook on life helped her to soldier on and so she got on with it. Bridget appointed her son, P Joe to manage and run the farm at the age of fourteen. He took instruction from her and with help from great neighbours, family relations and younger siblings, together they managed to keep it going.
Bridget fulfilled the role of both mother and father to the family. She was a very strong, kind, generous woman and conscientious in everything she did, always had a welcome for anyone who came to visit her home and as such she earned great respect in the community.
In January 1990, Bridget lost her eldest son Eugene at the age of 38 years. This was yet another difficult time for her. She was always so accepting, and never complained.
Having raised her family and with the aid of her family, she decided she would like to do some travel. In the 80s, she made a trip to London, via Holyhead, to visit her sons and daughter. In the mid 90s, she made a trip to Boston, Massachusetts, to visit her sisters and their families. In the late 90s, she went to France twice, on the first visit she went to Lourdes and also went up the Pic du Jer in the Pyrenees on the Funicular railway, 951 metres above the city of Lourdes. In 2001, she visited Lourdes again and visited Biarritz and crossed the border into Spain and had a really great time there. In January 1999, Bridget made another trip to London but this time it was to visit her seriously ill daughter, who thankfully a year later made a full recovery.
In 2004, Bridget had her own health problems where she had to have her leg amputated, on Good Friday of all days. Again, she had to come to terms that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. It never interfered with her having a good time. All who knew her very well will tell you that she loved going out and meeting people, if there was a party or a sing song, she was there. She loved music and she loved to sing and had a great memory for the words. In her later years, she learned how to use the iPad, where she would look and listen to songs on You Tube. She had her own library of songs which her grandchildren gladly set up for her. She did not let modern technology get in her way. She loved her mobile phone and was well able to send a text.
Bridget loved to attend the Louisburgh Community Day Centre, four days a week, as the Community Centre very kindly provided a wheelchair accessible bus, which enabled her to have an independent social life. She loved dressing up for the occasion and wearing her jewellery. Here she loved to meet her friends for lunch, play bingo and a game of cards and have a sing song, she also loved going on outings provided by the Centre and that could be anywhere from Louisburgh to Belmullet, she would be off with a sing song on the way. She also loved to take part each year in the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Louisburgh, on board the wheelchair bus, and when that was over she went to Westport to view the parade there, and finish off the night in Staunton’s with a sing song. She also supported the social events in the Lecanvey Community Centre, where she sang many a song.
In late August of this year while, Bridget was in Mayo University Hospital, she was pleasantly surprised by a visit from her much admired singer Seamus Moore, organised by Therese Dawson.
Bridget had 26 grandchildren, but sadly one died just a few weeks old. She has one great grandchild and extended step grandchildren and great step grandchildren.
She loved to see them visit her home where she would listen to them tell their stories, join in and encourage them to sing, dance and play their musical instruments. She taught them knitting and sewing and how to play a game of cards and have fun. She also taught them to be positive and enjoy life. She loved her birthday and there was always a party with song and dance at her house and then Staunton’s Pub, Lecanvey. Today, they will miss her very much and forever she will be remembered with love.
Bridget, our dearest loved mother, has left a huge void and loss in all of her family’s lives. She was an inspiration to many and left a mark on all who met her throughout her long life of 94 years. May her gentle soul rest in peace.