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Mystery of 28-year-late Achill letter solved


MEETING UP Martina Calvey and Maria Calvey pictured last weekend in Westport recounting the long lost letter.  Pic: Conor McKeown

Westport woman realised her pivotal role in the tale after reading The Mayo News

Anton McNulty

WHEN Maria Calvey was reading a story in The Mayo News about a letter that had been delivered to another Calvey in Achill after 28 years, she got a shock. She suddenly realised she was integrally linked to the story.
Last month, Achill woman Martina Calvey made national headlines when a letter sent from her cousin in Australia in 1993 was delivered to her home in Achill 28 year later. The letter had originally been posted to an address in Parkmore Drive, Terenure, Dublin 6, where Martina had been living, but she had moved out before it arrived.
A forwarding address of ‘Keel, Achill, Co Mayo’ was written on the envelope, but Martina had no idea who wrote it or where the letter had lain for 28 years.

Mayo connections
In 1993, Aughagower native Maria was nursing in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin, and she moved into the same house in Terenure just after Martina had moved. Shortly after she moved in, a letter addressed to Martina arrived from Australia.
“I knew the landlord had Mayo connections,” Marie told The Mayo News, “and there were two of us from Mayo when we moved in. It was mentioned that a Calvey girl from Mayo had been living there, and at the time I happened to be going out with a Calvey lad from Westport, and that is how the name stuck in my head.
“When the letter came we weren’t given a forwarding address, and there weren’t many Calveys I knew of. There were Calveys in Westport and the other Calveys would be in Achill or Inisbiggle. I suppose I was thinking ‘There are Calveys in Keel in Achill’, and I readdressed it presuming the postman would know the right person to deliver it to, and that was it.”

Calvey coincidence
Fast forward 28 years. Maria married her boyfriend, Martin Calvey, and has moved back to Westport. She opens the October 12 edition of her local paper and…
“I was reading The Mayo News, and I happened to notice the address [on the envelope pictured], and I thought, ‘That’s where I used to live!’. I read the article again and had another look at the photo of the letter, and thought that it looked awful like my writing on the address. I laughed when I realised it was my handwriting. When I was reading it I had been thinking that it was an amazing story.”
Maria explained that the two Calvey families are not related and that she never met Martina before, but she wanted to get in contact to let Martina know it was she who had sent the letter.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Martina said that she was delighted to hear from Maria and to solve the mystery of who forwarded on the Australian correspondence from Terenure to Achill.
“I thought I would never find the person who readdressed it. How would you come on that person going back 28 years? But yet the person who readdressed the letter lives outside Westport.
“The funniest thing of all was I had been on the radio [and] social media, and yet where did she see it? In The Mayo News! It just shows you that people still read their local paper,” she said.

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