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Mary Keane, wife of playwright John B, passes away after short illness

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Mary Keane, widow of the late John B Keane, pictured in the family bar in Listowel, Co Kerry. Photo: Domnick Walsh.

Mary Keane, widow of the late John B Keane, pictured in the family bar in Listowel, Co Kerry. Photo: Domnick Walsh.

Mary Keane, widow of the late John B Keane, pictured in the family bar in Listowel, Co Kerry. Photo: Domnick Walsh.

Her face was as familiar behind the bar of their famous pub as her husband’s used to be.

Today Listowel mourns the passing of Mary Keane (86), who passed away at the Bon Secours Hospital in Tralee, Co Kerry, following a short illness.

Born Mary O’Connor, a native of Ahaneboy, Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry, she was a woman well recognised in her own right.

Credited with being the greatest inspiration of her famous writer husband, John B,  theirs was an enduring partnership up until the time of his death in May 2002.

Mrs Keane continued to promote her husband’s work right up until she became ill.

Her last major public appearance was in February when attended the opening night of Moll in the Gaiety Theatre.

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Mary Keane with sons (l-r) Conor, John and Billy at the opening night of ‘The Field’ at the Gaiety Theatre

Mary Keane with sons (l-r) Conor, John and Billy at the opening night of ‘The Field’ at the Gaiety Theatre

Mary Keane with sons (l-r) Conor, John and Billy at the opening night of ‘The Field’ at the Gaiety Theatre

Close personal friend and Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the town had lost a wonderful woman.

“Mary was a very close friend of mine and will be dearly missed by many in the community,” he said.

“Mary was a great support to John B throughout his career and he often credited her with being his greatest inspiration.

“Since John B’s death Mary had continued to promote his work by attending new productions of plays all over the country.

“Mary was also a leader in the establishment of Áras Mhuire, a community nursing home in Listowel.

“Today we lost a wonderful woman,” Mr Deenihan added.

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