Family was everything for Molly

Published 21/11/2012 | 16:56

The late Molly Kelly

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1918-2012 THE DEATH has occurred of Molly Kelly (nee Connolly) of Melvin, Caherslee, Tralee and formerly of Leitrim.

Mary Connolly was born in Aughnaha, Rossinver, North Leitrim, the first daughter of Mary Ellen Tracey and James Connolly who farmed a small holding overlooking Lough Melvin, milking cows, raising sheep, saving hay and growing potatoes and vegetables.

In time she had four brothers and three sisters. She was educated nearby in Glenaniff National School and often recalled walking there and back with all the neighbours' children eating wild strawberries picked along the roadside.

She found employment in Dublin as a shop assistant, initially serving her time in lieu of training she was given before she started to earn a wage.

Molly loved her life in Dublin - she enjoyed dancing, pictures and above all clothes. Being a beautiful and attractive woman-often compared to the Hollywood star Myrna Loy - she had no shortage of men to walk out with.

A Kerry man named Mick Kelly won her heart. Mick, who was a scholar from Banna National School, had secured a civil service appointment and was working in the Custom House in Dublin. They went swimming in Dollymount and went to the Theatre Royal.

In 1944 they were married in Donnybrook Church and honeymooned in Dún Laoghaire. Shortly thereafter they moved to Tralee when Mick was offered a transfer - to be nearer to his mother!

Molly was shocked on her arrival at Tralee Railway Station - most of the women were still wearing shawls. Not her style! Initially they rented rooms from the O'Connors in Powers Road (Hillview Drive), Caherslee, a family well represented at Molly's removal and funeral.

They built their own house on the main road - the concrete walls made with sand from Banna. They raised a family of six - Liam, Anne, twins Mary and Joan, Jim and Michael.

Her brother Gerry also moved to Tralee to work in Vines Jewellers - in time establishing Connollys Jewellers.

Molly gave herself completely to looking after Mick, their children and the house. She cycled to cookery classes in the old Tech to hone her skills. Her return with a biscuit box of freshly baked goodies was eagerly awaited.

In those days she made butter sponges by whipping the ingredients with her bare hands. In later years her sister Peggy sent the money from Long Island to purchase a Krupps mixer which is in use to this day.

Summer holidays were spent with the children in Banna and Fenit or on occasional trips to the Maharees. A caravan was purchased so that holidays could be enjoyed in Ballybunion. Perhaps the real reason was that Mick could spend more time playing golf - a sport he took up in later life when his hurling days were long past.

Caherslee was a wonderful place for Molly and Mick to settle and raise their family, surrounded by the best of young newly weds, all with children to rear. The education of their children was a high priority for Molly and Mick. Molly saw to it that her children attended extra curricular classes in elocution, dancing and piano for the girls.

The Rosary would be called and each in turn would give out a decade - the younger ones missing out.

Molly was a quiet and gentle woman who preferred to be at home. She attended socials with neighbours and friends - the Stacks Social was an annual event given Mick's role as an officer of the club.

She was often called on by neighbours when children were sick, as she had a gift of caring. Every week she gave whatever she had to spare to traveller women who came calling.

She in turn would call on the neighbours for help - Billy Boyd when the electricity would cut off on Christmas morning or Tommo Dowling to teach her to drive when she was over 50. His motto 'slow and easy goes far' became a household catch phrase.

Her hopes of sharing Mick's retirement as an Inspector of Taxes were cut short by his untimely death in 1987. She bore that loss with resignation and trust in God.

Molly continued to live in Caherslee with Jim, making two more trips to America where Mary and Joan lived. She travelled to Portugal to visit Fatima with Anne and Michael. In turn she endured her sister Sally's, her brother Peter's, and her dearest daughter Anne's early deaths.

Mary returned from New York to live with Molly and Jim. Her 90th birthday was celebrated four years ago when she was joined at Mass and for lunch afterwards by many of her Connolly and Kelly relations. She attended weekly Mass in Balloonagh Chapel until 18 months ago. Mary and Jim together with her doctor Anne McSwiney and the HSE Home Care Team gently tendered to Molly's every need to her last breath.

Molly died as she lived - quietly, peacefully and without fuss. Her soul joined Mick's and Anne's beyond the sand hills in the celestial Banna. She reposed at home in the bedroom extension the family built for her in full view of the garden she loved and the birds she never tired of watching.

She was removed to St. Brendan's Church and buried after her requiem mass in Rath alongside Mick. Pat Gleasure, Liam's friend since boyhood, honoured her passing in driving her to her final place of rest.

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