She was one of two daughters born to Patrick and Catherine Harte in Brickens and March 20, 1920 was her date of birth. Her father died when she was just 12 years.
Delia and her sister Mary helped their mother on the land in difficult times when commodities and resources were scarce in rural Ireland.
In later years, she would often recall memories from those earlier times, including the building of St Teresa’s Church in Brickens in 1926-27 when she was one of the children who helped out by carrying water to the workmen.
She was among the many parishioners who met Cardinal D’Alton at the Claremorris parish boundary with Brickens and Bekan on his first visit home to Claremorris after being elevated to the role of Cardinal.
A keen gardener, Delia had a special love for the land and the soil. She was a big supporter of the annual Claremorris Agricultural Show and, in years gone by, was among the exhibitors with stock and vegetable produce. She loved nature and was often up at the crack of dawn to listen to the birds singing.
Cycling to dances was all the go back in her young days. Even then, she loved music and dancing and Ballindine was a great spot, especially on St Patrick’s night as there were no dances during Lent except on this night. Byrne’s Hall in Bekan was another of her favourite spots.
Delia worked in Flanagan’s of Brickens where she spent many a happy day in the shop and Post Office. She married Martin Kelly from the next village of Ranahard (who had also worked in Flanagan’s) on June 19, 1945. They raised a family of five, three sons and two daughters, and passed on to them their great sense of values and traditions.
She and Martin were good and able workers who took the best of care of their family and their home and farm. Back then, people had a great sense of community sharing and, though times were hard, neighbours were of the finest calibre. Delia was very good natured and had a heart of gold. She was a top class neighbour who could always be relied on to lend a helping hand.
One of Delia’s special interests was drama and she was a faithful supporter of the Claremorris Drama Festival over the years. She had a special identification with the plays of the legendary Kerry playwright, John B Keane, and always loved to see some of his plays performed at the festival in the Town Hall.
She enjoyed music and radio and Kevin Prendergast, who hails from nearby Logboy, was her favourite singer. The song about Pat Murphy’s Meadow, recorded by PJ Murrihy, was among her favourite songs and brought back many happy memories of days of yore. She was a great listener to Mid West Radio and never missed the Michael Commins show on Wednesday and Sunday nights.
Faith played a central role in her life. Her daily rosary was shared with her husband Martin down through the years. She attended Mass every week and had her own special favourite prayers which she recited daily.
The warmth of her welcome was legendary and all were made feel at home. She welcomed all her in-laws with gracious hospitality and made them her own. No better mother-in-law could they have wished for in life.
In later years, she accepted her illness and declining strength with great dignity and graciousness. She made the Sacred Heart Hospital her home from home where she was cared for with gentleness and respect. She always had a special welcome for Fr Paddy Mullins, PP, Bekan, when he visited her on a monthly basis in the hospital in Castlebar, and this was also very much appreciated by her family.
She was grateful for every little deed that was done and always had a ‘thank you’. She died on March 15, 2007, just days before her 87th birthday.
Delia is deeply regretted by her sons Peter (Ranahard), Tom (Mayfield), and Mattie (Ranahard), daughters Kathleen Sheridan (Cullane, Ballindine) and Carmel Keane (Aughervilla, Claremorris), sons-in-law Pat Sheridan and James Keane, daughters-in-law Rita and Nora, 18 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, her sister Mary Kelly in Brickens, niece, nephews, neighbours and many friends.