Details from Michael Dawson with thanks:
MRS MOLLY TOWNSEND
Mrs Molly Townsend, Maple Lawn, Ballon passed away peacefully on Friday 26 March at her daughter Teresa’s residence following a short illness borne with great strength and courage. She was 72 years of age. Formerly Molly Flynn, daughter of the late Mick and Annie Flynn, Molly and her brother Dessie were reared by their grandparents and father at Ballon Cross, following the death of their mother at an early age. Molly, in turn, was to spend much of her early years caring for her grandparents, father and brother.
Molly married Jim Townsend (Carrigslaney ) in 1970 and the couple moved to Maple Lawn, where they raised their five children, Caroline, Karen, Teresa, Tom and Pat. She devoted her life to bringing up her children and looking after the family home, never travelling too far. Molly tragically lost her brother Dessie in 1985 and her husband Jim in 1997, leaving her a widow at a young age. She continued to be at the centre of the family with great resilience. When her children were grown up she took up a part-time job in Ballon playschool which she thoroughly enjoyed, spending many happy years with the team there until she retired.
Molly loved the simple things in life and had a keen interest in her garden and found a renewed love of social dancing, with many an enjoyable night spent in Ardattin. Her main love throughout remained her family and she liked nothing more than a cup of tea and a chat with family and friends. The kettle was always on and a selection of biscuits and cake at hand to greet whoever came through the door. You could say that she was the ‘Mrs Doyle’ of Ballon in tea-making.
Because of the restrictions on large gatherings by the government to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus only close family and friends attended the requiem mass celebrated by Rev Jim O’Connell Adm in the Church of SS Peter and Paul Ballon on Sunday 28 March while neighbours and acquaintances gathered by the roadside and in Maple Lawn as the cortage made its way to the church and from the church to the cemetery to pay their last respects to a kind neighbour and a good friend.
Molly will be sadly missed by her daughters Caroline Berwick ( Dun Laoghaire), Karen Foley, (Tullow) and Teresa Jackman (Crosslow), sons Tom (Ardattin) and Pat (Carlow); sons-in-law Adrian, T.J, and Cian, daughters-in-law Elaine and Mary, grandchildren Matthew, Hannah, Jack, Tadhg, Molly, Leanne, Adam, Mikey and Ellie-May, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, kind neighbours and her many friends. Molly was predeceased by her husband Jim in 1997 and brother Dessie in 1985.
MRS ANN MURPHY
The death took place peacefully at her home on Tuesday 23 March of Mrs Ann (Nancy) Murphy, Ballinadrum, Ballon. Formerly Ann Kavanagh and a native of Kilrush, County Wexford, she had turned 84 on St Patrick’s Day.
Nancy came to Ballon in the 1950s following her marriage to Paddy Murphy and although she had spent more than 60 years of her life in County Carlow she was deeply proud of her Wexford roots. The couple first lived in Kilnock and moved to Ballinadrum in 1964.
A devoted mother, grandmother and great-grand-mother Nancy was a loving, caring and fast witted woman who was always there to help family, neighbours and friends.
She had a talent for dressmaking and knitting and while rearing her family of nine children she ensured that they were always well dressed with clothes made by her own hands. Her talents were sought-after by neighbours and friends who would often ask her to repair or alter when they found themselves in need of a stitch.
She was also a keen gardener and would provide neighbours with cuttings and slips of her beautiful roses. She was a spiritual women and a member of the PTAA all her life.
In later years Nancy’s home became affectionately renamed ‘Granny’s Crèche’, where she lovingly cared for her 20 grandchildren. It was a place of learning and education of the older traditions and values of everyday life.
Due to government advice regarding public gatherings, a private funeral Mass, celebrated by Rev Jim O’Connell Adm took place for family in Saint’s Peter & Paul Church, Ballon, on Thursday 25 March, followed by burial in Ballon Cemetery. Friends and neighbours gathered by the roadside observing social distancing as the cortege made its way from the house to the church and from the church to the graveyard.
Nancy is survived by her sons Tom (Ferns), John (Laragh), Jimmy (Ballon), Patrick (Ballinadrum), Michael (Ballinadrum) and Kevin (Myshall), daughters Frances Doyle (Ballon Hill), Bridget Dowling (Tullow) and Ann Brennan (Kilkenny); twenty grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren; sisters Frances Burke, Maryann McGrath and Mag Tobin and by her nieces, nephews, extended family, kind neighbours and friends. She was predeceased by her husband Paddy in 1990.
MRS BETTY MURPHY
The death took place at her residence on Monday 8 March of Mrs Betty Murphy, Ardattin. Aged 82, she was formerly Betty Nolan and was the only daughter of the late Denis and Mary Anne Nolan, Connaberry, Ballon.
She married TJ Murphy from Ardattin in 1965 and the couple raised four children in Connaberry before moving to Ardattin in 1986.
In her early years Betty was involved with Ballon Macra na Feirme and was particularly involved in the drama side of the organisation. She was also a member of both Ballon and Ardattin ICA Guilds and later she was to the fore in Ardattin Tidy village committee. She enjoyed travelling and TJ and herself did so extensively. Coming from a family steeped in history it was hardly surprising that Betty was deeply interested in the subject and wrote several articles on the the War of Independence and Civil War years for the Ballon/Rathoe Chronicle. She was also involved with the bi-centenary celebrations of 1798 and with the Thomas Traynor memorial committee in Tullow.
Due to government guidelines regarding public gatherings a private funeral took place on Wednesday 10 March in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Ardattin followed by burial in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery, Tullow.
Betty is mourned by her husband, TJ; daughter Eileen Byrne (Ardattin); sons Matt (Ardattin), Donnacha (Connaberry) and Seamus (Ardattin); son-in-law Aidan, daughters-in-law Mary and Annmarie, grandchildren Claire, Sinéad, Therese, Eoin, Padraig, Donnacha, Eibhlín and Tom, sister-in-law Marie, brother-in-law Andy, relatives and her many friends.
MRS BETTY NOLAN
There was profound sadness in the area last week following the unexpected death of Mrs Betty Nolan, Bendenstown, Rathoe which occurred on Sunday 28 February. Formerly Betty O’Leary from Barnahask, Bunclody she was aged 60. She married Noel Nolan in 1999 and together they farmed mushrooms until they closed the business in 2004. While her main interest in life was her home and family Betty had a great interest in rugby and particularly in the fortunes of Tullow RFC where Noel served as president in the past and is the current chairman. Betty also loved walking and herself and Noel travelled all around the beauty spots of South Leinster for their Sunday recreation. However, it was Altamont Gardens that was closest to her heart.
Betty’s remains departed from her home on Thursday 4 February on her final journey to Saint Patrick’s Church, Rathoe where a private Funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr Jim O’Connell ADM. Burial took place immediately afterwards in Rathoe cemetery. Because of the restrictions on large gatherings by the government to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 only close family and friends attended the requiem mass while neighbours, friends and acquaintances gathered by the roadside as the cortége passed from her home en route to the church and others gathered at the churchyard observing social distancing.
Betty is mourned by her husband Noel; daughters Carrie (Castlemore), Helen and Aoife,(Bendenstown) and son Bill (Bendenstown); grandchildren Megan, Amy, Ben, Adam, Jonah and Noah, greatgrandchild Izak; mother, Mrs Helen O’Leary (Bunclody), sister Tina (Bunclody); brothers Tom (Ferns), P.J. (Ballykealey), Matty, (Kildavin), Eugene (Tullow) and Liam (Bunclody), brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and a wide circle of friends. She was predeceased by her father Paddy and siblings Mary, Dick, Jim and Paul.
MRS SHEILA CORRIGAN
There was profound sadness in the area last week following the sudden death of Mrs Sheila Corrigan, Ballon Hill which took place at her home on Friday 5 February. Aged 73 years, she was formerly Sheila Conroy and was a native of Barkmills, Ballyfin, Co Laois.
She married Johnny Corrigan in 1971 and the couple had 6 children. A devoted mother and later grandmother, Sheila was a warm-hearted, cheery woman, thoughtful and caring and was a good neighbour and friend who was always there to help when needed.
After her family Sheila’s great passion in life was bingo and she played two or three night per week. She followed athletics and Community Games, particularly when her children were participating and one of the proudest moments of her life was when her daughter, Colette, won a national gold medal in sprinting.
Due to government advice regarding public gatherings, a private funeral Mass, celebrated by Rev Jim O’Connell Adm took place for family in Saint’s Peter & Paul Church, Ballon, on Sunday 7 February, followed by burial in Ballon Cemetery. Friends and neighbours gathered in the village observing social distancing as the cortege made its way from the church to the graveyard.
Sheila is mourned by her husband Johnny; daughter Colette (Carlow); sons Declan (Ballon Hill), David (Carlow), Noel (Graiguecullen) and Brendan (Ballon Hill); daughters-in-law Christine & Lorraine, grandchildren, brothers Liam (Barkmills), Tommy (Portarlington) and Joey (Barkmills), sisters Margaret O’Sullivan (Dublin), Josie Dolan (Limerick) and Sally Glennon (Moate), brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, neighbours and friends. She was predeceased by her son John in 2006
MRS AINE MURPHY
The death took place peacefully at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny on Wednesday 3 February of Mrs Aine Murphy, Ballycurragh Stud, Rathoe. Formerly Aine Lennon she was a native of Courtnellan, Borris and was aged 88 years.
Aine trained as a nurse and worked at the Mater Hospital in Dublin and at the District Hospital, Bagenalstown. She married Andy Murphy in 1961 and the couple reared their three children Noelle, Willie and Jim while running Ballycurragh Stud. It followed that she had a great love of horse-racing while the GAA (she played camogie with Borris) and indeed all sports were high on her lists of interests. When her son Willie married Moira McElligott, a former elite boxing champion who has represented Ireland at top international level, she found herself interested in a new and very different sport. Aine always put her family first and was an outgoing lady who loved meeting people and exchanging news and views.
Mrs Murphy remains were removed to St Patrick’s Church, Rathoe on Friday 5 February and interment took place in the adjoining cemetery following Requiem Mass on the following morning.
Because of the restrictions on large gatherings by the government to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus only close family and friends attended the requiem mass celebrated by Rev Jim O’Connell Adm with Fr Sean Kelly (cousin) in attendance while neighbours and acquaintances gathered in the churchyard observing social distancing.
The late Mrs Murphy is survived by her daughter Noelle, sons Willie and Jim, daughter-in-law Moira, brother Martin (Borris), sister-in-law Jo (Borris), nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. She was predeceased by her husband Andy and brothers Shem, Sean, Rev Fr. Moling, Padraig and Joseph (Joe).
MRS TESS BLANCHE
Mrs Tess Blanche, Ballinadrum, Ballon passed away peacefully at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny on Friday 22 January. In her 98th year and was the oldest and one of the best-known parishioners in Ballon/Rathoe.
Born in 1923, she was the fifth and youngest daughter of the village blacksmith, John Brennan and his wife, Catherine and was the last surviving of the five sisters, Ciss, Kitty, Rosie and Birdie.
Tess loved the “street” as she always called the village and never moved far from it locating, first, to Connaberry and then to Ballinadrum following her marriage to Wish Blanche from Ballon Hill in 1944. The couple had five children Gerard, Francis, Breda, Sean and Kathleen.
One of Tess’s trademark characteristics was her singing ability and she joined the church choir as a 9-year-old. That was in 1932 and she remained a faithful member until the ‘old choir’ ceased in 2005. She continued singing along with the new choir because she regarded singing in church as a part of prayer. And the ‘old choir’ never really disappeared anyway since she and her great friend Jenny Cummins continued to sing at weekday Masses for as long as she was able.
As a young woman in the 1930s and 1940s she was also a member of the renowned Ballon Village choir, separate from the church choir, and popularly known as Fr Lawlor’s Choir. Fr Lawlor was the Parish Priest at the time and Tess was unstinting in her praise and admiration of this man who trained a choir of local men and women
in 4-part harmony melodies that won them top prizes in competitions and feiseanna over many years. The choir’s last performance was in 1946 at an outdoor public concert in Courtown Harbour, County Wexford.
Locals of a certain vintage will have vivid memories of Tess singing solo at concerts during the 1960s, 70s and 80s and she could hit the high notes as true and clear as a lark. She had a strong soprano voice. She also loved being the prompter in the plays that many people will remember being produced by Peadar Swayne (RIP) in the Old Village Hall, and elsewhere, and she knocked great fun out of performing in Ballon’s Tops of the Town teams over many seasons, acting and singing. She also was part of a Kilbride GAA Ballad Group that won the Carlow Scór competition.
Tess, too, had a great sense of adventure. She loved going places and when the responsibilities of rearing the children were past, she and Wish took to the skies and visited America and continental countries like Holland, Spain and Italy, and crossed the Irish Sea to Scotland and England numerous times.
Tess also loved her work with the Apostolic Workers’ Guild in the village from her early adulthood. She would often take work home and sit down at her old Singer sewing machine that she had inherited from her mother. This old machine is still in working order and she used it up to the last – now sadly sitting waiting for another hand to thread the needle and turn the wheel. At home she would continue the work on altar linens and so on. She also, frequently, made the trip to the annual diocesan apostolic workers’ display in some part of the diocese, making new friends and renewing old acquaintances. She loved the annual retreat in Kiltegan that the Apostolic Guild organised until illness prevented her going any longer. In latter years she would sit in the kitchen trimming thousands of stamps for Kiltegan’s fund-raising, her feet buried in a snowdrift of scraps of paper.
For years Tess was a member of the parish Senior Citizens’ Committee. She was a committee member in that far-off time when all the food had to be prepared and cooked in advance. It was then brought ahead of the tour buses by car to the stopping-points at various places in the east and southeast where it would be served. A lot of hard work went into all that but she enjoyed it and felt she was helping the members of her own community who had reached their old age and deserved to be treated with appreciation and dignity. But she had lots of laughs and fun too during those outings.
Tess, sometimes referred to as Mrs Blanche, had a fantastic recall and in 2002 shared her early years growing up as the blackmith’s daughter with readers of the parish ‘Chronicle’ but her contribution in the 2005 edition in which she detailed all the villagers, house by house, who lived in Ballon in the 1940s and 1950s stands as a valuable record of the social fabric of the village in the mid-20th century. This article was reproduced in The Nationalist last year. She contributed an article on ‘Travelling Shows in Ballon’ in the most recent edition of the new community magazine ’Connected’.
Tess was very outgoing and loved mixing with people. Even when her angina and osteoporosis and arthritis, and other ailments, slowed her physically and gave her frequent pain she still wanted to be out and about as much as possible. When she couldn’t be active she enjoyed just sitting watching the world go by. She would never sit with her back to a crowd of people – preferring to be where she could observe and nod and smile at people and appraise the fashion. She had a terrific sense of humour, a hearty laugh, and a great sense of fun, and she both gave to, and got, a lot from life.
Religion played a huge role in Tess’s life and she was a life-long member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. She genuinely loved church ceremonies, and these were an enormous part of country and village life when she was growing up – sodalities, Quarant Ores, first Fridays, May Devotions, the Lenten Stations of the Cross, Missions, High Masses, and so on. She loved all the ceremonies and services and saw them as a personal exchange with God. One of her most beloved devotions was her Eucharistic Hour in the church on Wednesdays. Ill-health made attendance sporadic in recent years but if she could at all she’d insist on going.
On 23 November 2008, in Ballon church, she and her good friend Jenny were awarded Bene Merenti Medals, the highest honour the Catholic Church can bestow on a lay person.
She had her disappointments and her terrible sorrows but she accommodated all of them, carrying her crosses, but she was always resilient. She had a very positive attitude to life, and even when her daughter Breda, died in 1988 and her grandson Fran in 2002 – both suddenly in accidents – her husband Wish in 2004, her great-grandson Conor in 2008, and her son-in-law Iain (Kathleen’s husband) in 2016, and many other close relatives in the intervening years, she never doubted that the Blessed Virgin would see her through. She always remembered to be grateful for what went well in her life and took great comfort and joy from her role as grandmother 9 times over and as greatgrandmother of 14.
Tess’s remains departed from her home on Wednesday 27 January on her final journey to Saint’s Peter & Paul’s Church, Ballon where a private Funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr Jim O’Connell ADM with Rev Lester Scott in attendance. Burial took place immediately afterwards in Ballon cemetery. Because of the restrictions on large gatherings by the government to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 only close family and friends attended the requiem mass while neighbours, friends and acquaintances gathered by the roadside as the cortége passed from her home en route to the church and others gathered at the churchyard observing social distancing.
Tess is mourned by her sons Gerard, Francis and Sean; daughter Kathleen; daughters-in-law Mary and Breda and by her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins, relatives, kind neighbours and friends. As previously stated she was predeceased by her husband Wish, daughter Breda, son-in-law Ian, grandson Fran and great-grandson Connor.
MRS CLAIRE KELLY
The death took place at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny on Friday 22 January of Mrs Claire Kelly (nee Donohoe), Rathrush, Rathoe. She was aged 72 years. Claire was a lovely, kind, caring person who loved nothing more than a chat and a cup of tea. She had a twinkle in her eye and loved a bit of devilment and a laugh and had a great sense of humour. She was extremely thoughtful and was always thinking of others. She spent a lot of her life caring for others. She looked after her mother, Mrs Pat for many years and then her mother-in-law Anastacia for 6 years. In 2018 Claire suffered a stroke and ended up in the care of Hillview nursing home where she resided until her passing. She had three great passions in her life – bingo, music and her cats. Her bingo brought her happiness and she was an avid bingo goer many nights a week; her love of music was apparent in many a sing a long in her kitchen with friends, family and neighbours while she had a huge love of cats and at any stage could have 15 plus of them in her home, all minded better than herself! Claire was interred in Rathoe cemetery following Requiem Mass on Saturday 23 January. She is mourned by her husband Jim; sister Emer; sister-in-law Nuala; nieces Frances, Yvonne, Imelda and Noelle and nephews DJ, Paraic, Terence and John Paul and by her neighbours, friends and bingo pals. She was predeceased by her mother Mary, father Pat and brother Declan. Months mind mass will be celebrated in Ballon at 6pm on Saturday 13th February and will be available on the webcam, mcnmedia.ballon.
MRS AINE CONNOLLY
The death took place on Saturday 2 January at Hillview Nursing Home, Carlow of Mrs Aine Connolly, Kellistown. Aged 94, she was formerly Aine Murphy and was a native of Pollerton Little, Carlow. Her father was a founder member of the Fianna Fail party so its little wonder that one of Aine’s main interests was politics. She also liked sport in general in in latter years was a fan of TV quizzes and game shows.
Her remains reposed at Carpenter’s Funeral Home in Carlow before being removed to St Patrick’s Church, Rathoe for Requiem Mass and burial on Monday 4 January. Because of the restrictions on large gatherings by the government to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus only close family and friends attended the requiem mass celebrated by Rev Jim O’Connell Adm while neighbours and acquaintances gathered by the roadside as the cortege passed through Kellistown en route to the church and others gathered in the churchyard observing social distancing.
Aine is survived by her daughter Murey Healy (Graiguenamanagh), sons Seamus (Tobinstown), Padraig (Brownshill) and Liam, (Kellistown); sister Maura Mahon, (Bennekerry), daughters-in-law, Elizabeth, Michelle and Mary, grandchildren, Gillian, Barry, Lisa, James, Andrew, Henry, Natalia and Mila; great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her husband James in1998 and grandson James Healy and by her siblings, Padraig, Con, Seamus, Sean, Liam and Eileen.