Ballynew and Garryduff Court, Castlebar
Bridie Mac Aleese, formerly of Ballynew and Garryduff Court, Castlebar, passed to her eternal reward on Monday, September 23, in the loving care of the Nurses and Staff of Abbeybreaffy Nursing Home. She was one of the oldest residents in Castlebar and had just celebrated her 101st birthday on September 1.
Bridie was born in the picturesque village of Killala on September 1, 1918, and is the last surviving of her six siblings. She spent her working life in the hospitality sector, firstly in Hursts Hotel, Ballina, and later in the Imperial Hotel Castlebar and Lydons of Galway. Donagh (her late husband) arrived in Castlebar in the early 30s as a young reporter from Monaghan Town to work with the Connaught Telegraph Newspaper. She would recall with delight frequently, how he cycled to Galway City on a Sunday and return the same day to meet her! He persuaded her to return to Castlebar, and they married on April 29, 1943, and went to live in Ballynew off the Turlough Road. Bridie’s 4 children were born there, Mary, Angela, Kevin and Margo.
Exactly 40 years after arriving in Ballynew, Donagh passed away and Bridie relocated to Garryduff Court, off the Newport Road in Castlebar. Unbelievably, Bridie had another fantastic 20 years at this lovely location, and as the church was just walking distance away she loved to go there every day.
Finally, entering a Nursing Home in your twilight years may be a daunting experience for many, but certainly not for Bridie! She loved it from day one and this was another wonderful time in her life. She interacted with the staff like no other and took great joy in hearing about their families. She had no trouble in naming them personally – in fact she often had the ability to remember their childrens names!! Abbeybreaffy just happened to be across the river from Ballynew, so all her friends and neighbours continued to enquire about her wellbeing and visited her on a regular basis and kept her up to date with all the news. We, Bridie’s family will never forget their kindness. Fr Declan Carroll, a neighbour from the Turlough Road in Castlebar, said the bidding prayers in the Funeral Home before Bridie’s remains were brought to the church. Mass the following day was celebrated by another wonderful neighbour, Fr Tommy Murphy (Turlough Road) and also present was Fr Paddy Gill (Lecanvey).
Bridie’s eldest granddaughter Geraldine, in describing her Granny, listed positive adjectives such as: kind; helpful; loving; gentle, thoughtful, friendly, sociable, modest, intelligent, hardworking – and we her family have always experienced these outstanding qualities throughout our lives also.
Bridie’s unwavering devotion to prayer and the sacraments never ceased, and the fact that she passed away on the Feast Day of St Padre Pio would be a sure sign to her that all her prayers were answered.
Bridie was predeceased by her husband Donagh (pictured above) who died in November, 1983. She will be sadly missed by her daughters, Mary McNamara, (Tralee), Angela Hourigan (England), Margo Cummins (Lecanvey) and her son Kevin Mac Aleese (Newcastle Upon Tyne). Her sons-in-law John McNamara and Paddy Cummins, her daughter-in-law Marilyn Mac Aleese, grandchildren Geraldine, Madeline, Catherine, Claire, Marie, Rebecca, David, Joanne and Donagh, great grandchildren David, Marc, Josie, Martha, Pippa, Frances, Gavin, Peter and Daisy, sister-in-law Margaret McGuire, her nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and neighbours.
May her gentle soul rest in peace.