Leenane Road, Westport formerly Rahealty, Thurles, Co Tipperary
The people of Westport and its surrounding area, family and friends in her native Thurles, and around the country, were greatly saddened to hear of the death of Agatha Golden, a well-known and respected member of the Westport community on Sunday, June 2, 2019 surrounded by her family.
Agatha was born in Thurles on April 14, 1946, to William and Annie McLaughlin natives of Derry, and Kilkenny respectively, who she always described as the best parents in the world. She was the youngest of six, and always referred to her siblings as her best friends; Seamus, John, Anne, Madeleine, and Caroline. Agatha always considered her childhood spent in the countryside of Rahealty, Thurles, to be an incredibly special time in her life. She was always so grateful to have had everything she needed, and was encouraged to embrace sporting opportunities, as well as a great education, an interest in music, nature, and art. She often recalled happy memories of school days, holidays and of course match days. Her brother, John being a very successful Tipperary hurler contributed to an enjoyment of Gaelic Games that never waned throughout her life. Agatha treasured her years in Thurles, and loved to return there. She remained incredibly close to her siblings and school friends despite the distance throughout her life, and she was fantastic at keeping in touch with friends and family around the globe. A woman of letters, she spent a vast majority of time in O’Reilly and Turpin and Duffy’s bookshop, choosing cards to send to mark special occasions in people’s lives. Indeed her earliest correspondent Gladys, a childhood friend and herself began writing letters after leaving school and continued that habit for fifty five years, with the last letter arriving from Gladys two days before Agatha passed.
Despite Leaving Certificate scores that were much higher than she ever let on, she was anxious to get to Dublin and enter the working world. Following a comptometer course, she enjoyed jobs in Sanbra Fyffe, Murray-Hertz, and finally Esso, where she spent the longest amount of her working life in Dublin. She was employed in Esso for several years and really enjoyed her time in Dublin. Agatha was welcomed wherever she went with great affection due to her sunny disposition and gentle, caring nature. She often spoke of how much she enjoyed her job, getting to know her colleagues, becoming part of the entertainment committee in Esso, attending sporting and social functions, and spending time with new friends and family. Many of her friends from those days remained close to her throughout her life, and it was during this time she met her dear friend Carmel, who would be her bridesmaid when she later met Gar.
The journey to true love wasn’t the first journey she made, although it would be the most enduring one of her life. She had fond memories of Corfu and the Greek Islands, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, and New Zealand. In recent years however her favourite trip was to the UK to see her son Conor, his wife Lorna and their children Rory and Lucy. She loved going to see them, and she loved them coming to Westport. Someone was looking down on her from above, because as luck would have it, Conor had planned a holiday home to see her in what became the final week of her life.
Some might say that luck had played its part in Agatha’s life a lot earlier; in 1972 a last-minute decision had a lasting effect on her life! She agreed to accompany a friend to Clare Island and met Gerard Golden (Gar) who would later become her husband. Gar was a widower and father of two small children Pauline and Judy. Agatha had brought the sunshine West that fateful weekend and Gar knew Agatha was the woman to bring the sunshine back into his life. They married in June 1973, and she instantly became part of a family of four. Agatha and Gar welcomed Conor to the world a year later, followed by Laura a year and a half after that, and John in 1978. Despite being a “blow in” Agatha embraced her new life in Westport. She worked in Gar’s shop, Golden’s Pharmacy, whenever she could; the nurses in the hospital have remarked what a great ad she was for skincare, a natural sales booster! She loved nothing more than helping people in and out of business.
It was this attitude that endeared people to her and she made friends easily, as she was trustworthy, loyal, a fantastic listener and a compassionate ear. She tried her hand at golf, bridge, and in later years art classes, yoga, and mindfulness courses. She dazzled people with her culinary skills whenever there was a bake sale for the beavers; the brownies; the cubs; or schools. Her children’s parties were well known for the cake and the chats as she endeavoured to create blissfully happy memories for her loved ones.
Love was at the centre of her life. She had a heart of gold long before she became a Golden. In so many ways she let all those who were dear to her know they were loved and cared for, loved her home, her garden, her friends, her faith, her hobbies, arranging the flowers in the church, going to gardening club meetings when she could, or the Clew Bay Critters in Mc Ging’s. Agatha’s heart was full with all the things she loved in her life, she was always so grateful. She never envied anything that belonged to anyone. In Agatha’s eyes there was nothing like her own garden. The grass was never greener elsewhere it was just different. She was totally contented with her life with Gar, her family and friends. The only thing she was upset about in recent months was not having more energy and being unable to go to Mass.
Agatha’s faith was of massive importance to her. There was a night light burning in the window sill of the kitchen every day, someone might be doing an exam, having a baby, going through a difficult time. They were also added to the ever increasing prayer list. She had built up quite the credits but she never saw herself as someone who was owed anything for all the good she did. She prayed in hope, not expectation and always accepted that God’s plan was God’s plan and that he had the final word. In the last few days of her life when Agatha was asked if she was scared her answer was immediate and certain. No. Agatha’s faith was unshakeable; she never questioned why or became bitter or resentful about her diagnosis. She bore it with grace and dignity, the way she lived her entire life. People identified her beautiful soul and wanted to help her especially at the end, when Mr Khan, Dr Amir, and the incredible team at surgical ward D did everything they could to create an atmosphere of calm and serenity so she could slip away in peace. May Agatha’s gentle soul rest in peace.
Agatha will be sadly missed by her husband Gar, sons, Conor and John, daughters, Laura, Pauline and Judy, daughters-in-law, Lorna and Kim, son-in-law Ben, grandchildren Conor, Orlaith, Gary, Rory, Lucy and Ella; brother John (Thurles), sisters Anne (Tullamore) and Caroline (Blackrock), sister-in-law Eileen; brothers-in-law Billy and Peter; nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives and friends.