The Shanley family have kindly agreed to share this beautiful memorial tribute to their mother, Marie. 

I would like to thank everybody for being here today to celebrate the life of our wonderful mother, Marie.

It’s difficult to convey in a few minutes or in a few words a life so full, so well lived and so well traveled.

A life of laughter and a life filled with music.

Our mother had a great love of life and a huge interest in people, and anyone who met Mammy for the first time would verify that her first question would be, “What county person are you?” And invariably she would have a light-hearted story or anecdote to share about that part of the country.

With her songs and poems, Mam passed on her values to which we will be forever grateful, and with a positive outlook on life, she always saw the best in everybody.

We were so lucky as children that Mam and Dad chose Tinahely [Co. Wicklow] to raise their family and growing up there was a joy.

Read More: A beautiful poem for the departed by Irish monks 

Mammy was the queen of recycling.

As children our motto was “Ya better finish your dinner, cos if ya don’t it’ll be disguised as something else for your tea!”

We had an idyllic childhood in Tinahely, playing in the fields and swimming in the river and with Mam and Dad’s sense of adventure, one day we could be in Glendalough and the next day we could be driving through Kinsale, Bundoran, the highlands of Scotland, or Belfast, or London, packed into a red Hillman Hunter Estate, registration number VNI 112 with a pillow on the gearstick for a child seat, obviously no seat belt provisions in the back for children, and the windows all rolled up tight just in case any second-hand cigarette smoke might escape.

Coming from an entertainment background, my mother had music flowing through her veins.

We never needed the radio on in our house as we were always being treated to a broad range of music from opera to folk, country to gospel, but most of all it was my mother’s love of Irish songs that rang through.

Her personal favorite was always Tommy Makem’s Four Green Fields.

When she sang that song in O’Connors Lounge in Tinahely you could hear a pin drop, but when she’d finish the final note, she’d bring the house down and that would fill us with pride while bringing a smile to Daddy’s face.

All our lives changed when Daddy died suddenly in January 2000.

My mother lost her soulmate and best friend, but any worries we had for Mam were unnecessary as she rose to the challenge life had put in front of her.

She immersed herself in voluntary charity work with the Irish wheelchair association, which kept her busy, and then it was time for Mam to get back on the road of travel.

With her partner in crime, Mrs. O’Brien from Tinahely, they embarked on constant holidays around Europe, touching into Asia and North Africa.

And after countless hilarious events which legally can’t be spoken about, we nicknamed them Thelma and Louise.

After many trips, they decided to hang up their traveling boots. The next chapter in Mam’s life beckoned and St. Fiacc’s house Graiguecullen welcomed Mammy with open arms, and the last 5 and a half years of her life spent there have been filled with fun, happiness, security and of course music.

And, as Mam always kept telling us, “the best brown bread in Ireland.”

But above all else, the love and care given to our mother in St. Fiacc’s house were second to none and we as a family will never forget that.

I wish to thank everybody that sent cards and messages on social media. It really means a lot, and again to thank everyone who traveled here today and over the last few days.

I would especially like to thank my sister Aine who has done so much for my mother since she moved to St. Fiacc’s.

I would also like to thank the doctors and the nurses in St. Luke’s, Kilkenny for their amazing care to Mammy in her final few days.

Finally, if I can borrow a few lines of a favorite song of hers from Joseph Locke:

My heart is broken but what care I?

Such pride inside me has woken

I'll try my best not to cry

By and by

Goodbye, goodbye

I wish you all a last goodbye,

Goodbye, goodbye

I wish you all a last goodbye.

Our parents on the Lough Erin watereayShanley family