Kilbree, Westport, Co Mayo
Norah was born on the family farm in Kilbree, Westport on Monday, July 1, 1918 to her parents Peter Walsh from Derrycoosh, Islandeady, and Mary O’Donnell from Parke, Castlebar. Norah was the youngest of seven children, she had three brothers Tom, Martin and John and three sisters Margaret, May, and Bridget. Norah was educated at Cogaula National School and then attended the Convent Secondary School in Westport.
Norah often reflected on her happy childhood in Kilbree. She would speak of neighbours visiting each other, dances in the barn and in the kitchen, taking turns churning the butter, and baking with her mother who passed away when Norah was only 16 years of age. Norah often recalled going to the dances in the Gaiety Ballroom, and how her brother Tom would keep a close eye on the clock in order to ensure that she wasn’t too late returning home!
In 1940 and like many other people at that time, Norah left Ireland and went to England. Norah often recalled how her brother Tom carried her suitcase from their home in Kilbree to the train station in Islandeady. After boarding the train, Norah embarked on what she herself described as a wonderful life in England. On April 29, 1950 Norah married Pakie Tunney from Cushin, Westport and together they went on to enjoy 40 years of marriage.
In 1990 Norah’s husband Pakie passed away and shortly after his death Norah made the decision to return home to Kilbree. Since returning home Norah enjoyed being surrounded by her family and good friends. Norah always ensured that her social calendar was as busy as possible. She loved having visitors and chatting over the telephone. On a regular basis Norah attended the Islandeady Wednesday Get Together, the MacBride day service, the Westport Active Retirement Association and the Friday Friends Social Services, Westport. Norah was also a regular visitor in Goldilocks Hairdressers in Westport. In her spare time Norah enjoyed keeping up with current affairs, reading books and walking. Norah also loved to recite poetry with one of her favourite poems being ‘A Noble Boy’ by Mary Dow Brine. Norah’s faith was a very important part of her life and she would never miss Sunday morning Mass in Islandeady. At the age of 100 Norah made the trip to Knock to see the Pope!
After a short illness and surrounded by her family Norah passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 15 in the same house that she was born 102 years previously. Norah will be fondly remembered by her family and many friends. May she rest in peace.