Cancer claims Phyllis just weeks after her wedding

GRIEF: Market traders pay tribute to their much-loved colleague

Geraldine Gittens

A Dublin cancer victim has died just one month after marrying the love of her life.

Phyllis O'Regan (55) from Dunboyne, Co Meath, originally from Finglas, knew she only had a short period left to live when she married Peter O'Regan, her long-term partner, on July 14.

The businesswoman, who sold candles at Dun Laoghaire and Marlay Park markets for the past seven years, was diagnosed with cancer in June.

Peter told the Herald: "We'd always intended on getting married and when the news came that she had cancer, it became urgent.

"We had to get special permission from the circuit court in Trim to bypass the three-month waiting time before you get married. And we got married in Navan.

"It was special, it was a quiet day with just the immediate family and friends, and it all happened pretty fast -- there wasn't much time to organise it. We had a meal in the Coach House in Navan."

Phyllis had organised everything for her own funeral, once she knew that she would not get better and the cancer had spread from her lungs to her liver, spine and brain.


"She said goodbye to all her friends. And she decided who was going to do what reading, and she decided that the last song would be, Oh What A Lovely Day," said Peter.

"She went to St Francis hospice and they were absolutely fantastic there. I found that (being there) people are not afraid of dying and they're sorry to be leaving the party instead of being afraid of dying."

Dun Laoghaire market manager Jackie Spillane paid tribute to Phyllis, and said her absence was deeply felt at weekend markets.

"She had the most wonderful sense of humour. She had a really practical approach to life and a no-nonsense attitude. She was well known and much loved, and the funeral was really crowded," said Jackie.

"As news filtered out over the last six weeks, the community aspect of our market lives became very obvious, and it was a poignant reminder of how as small business owners, without the markets, we are actually very isolated.

"Phyllis was such a great example of someone who lived for the markets. The grace and serenity with which Phyllis took her diagnosis was a deep life lesson for me, and I am thankful for the last few visits with her."

Phyllis previously worked for Irish Ferries and was cared for by the staff at St Francis Hospice, Raheny in her final weeks.

"Phyllis was confident that she could pull some strings for us in heaven, and so I will no longer be taking credit for good weather days. I will never forget her sense of humour which was never more present than when truly, all seemed bleak," Jackie told traders in a written tribute.


Another trader said: "She was a lovely character. She got married when she knew she was dying. There was an air over the market yesterday when everyone knew she wasn't there."

Requiem Mass took place at St Peter and Paul's Church, Dunboyne, earlier this week followed by burial in Rooske Cemetery.