Deirdre could see the good in everyone and everything
Deirdre O'Brien (née Dempsey) – An Appreciation
Deirdre O'Brien who died on 11 January last was a member of the well-known Dempsey family from Sandyford Terrace, Drogheda. Born in 1928, Deirdre was the daughter of Vincent and Kathleen Dempsey and was a sister to Vincent (R.I.P.), Aidan (R.I.P.), Raymond and Gertie (Shields).
Her father Vincent was the first District Court Clerk to be appointed to Drogheda after the War of Independence.
Her mother Kathleen (née Balfe) was a founder member of the Drogheda branch of Cumann na mBan and made history in 1967 with her election as the first woman member of Drogheda Corporation.
Deirdre was a very bright, kind, intelligent and articulate young woman and was very appreciative of the education she received from the Presentation Sisters in Fair Street. A lover of literature and learning, her ambition was to become a teacher or a librarian. Sadly her father Vincent passed away when she was only nine. Deirdre subsequently studied a commercial course in the Technical School in King Street and soon secured the position of book keeper in Kierans' Delicatessen in West Street.
Deirdre enjoyed her many years working in the Kierans' business, and indeed it was there that she first met her future husband Richard (Dick) O' Brien, then a clerical officer at Drogheda Railway Station.
Richard and Deirdre married in 1953 and set up home in Railway Terrace where they raised their five children – Brian, Richard, Carol, Neil and John (Seán Ó Briain). Sadly her husband, Richard, passed away on 2 July 1987.
Deirdre devoted her life to her home and her family. She was also a very active member of St. Joseph's CBS Parents' Council. A very positive person, she could see the good in every one and in everything. A true Christian, she was full of love, concern, generosity and compassion for others. She was a lovely and loving person who was loved in turn by her family, her grandchildren Ciarán, Áine, Dáire and Oisín, her neighbours, her wide circle of friends and everyone who knew her.
Throughout her life, Deirdre had a keen interest in news and current affairs and loved listening to Radio 1, reading the local and national newspapers and doing the Irish Times crossword. She had a great sense of humour and enjoyed watching comedy classics on TV such as Dad's Army and Morecambe and Wise.
A lover of nature, she enjoyed nothing more than a drive in the countryside, a stroll through the fields, a paddle in the sea, a spot of gardening or feeding the birds in the back garden.
Her favourite month was May as it heralded the start of summer, the onset of new life and colour and fresh blooms in the garden. Unsurprisingly her favourite song was "Morning has Broken".
A gentle woman by nature, she was also very strong and resolute. Deirdre enjoyed very good health up until five years ago. Despite her recent illness and loss of mobility, she maintained a determined and positive attitude to life. She never complained, was pleasant and kind to everybody, enjoyed life and always looked forward to what the next day would bring.
The Chief Celebrant at Deirdre's funeral mass in St. Mary's Parish Church was her nephew, Fr. Pat Corcoran who had flown in especially from Nigeria for the occasion. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Denis Nulty P.P., Fr. Iggy O' Donovan OSA, Fr. Henry MacNamara OSA and another relation of Deirdre's, Deacon Paul Murphy from Termonfeckin.
Deirdre as a person is best summed up in a verse of the hymn "Gentle Woman" which was sung at her funeral mass:
Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star
so strong and bright,
gentle mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.