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Mary's final farewell to stall she loved

MOORE Street is to say a sad farewell to one of its best-loved characters.

For the last time, Mary Manley will stop off at the street where she sold fruit and vegetables for more than half a century.

She passed away at the age of 84 on Monday and, as a mark of respect, her funeral cortege will get a garda escort through Moore Street tomorrow afternoon.

Her grandson Alan Kirwan (33) said it will only be the second time such an honour has been extended – the first was for Mary's sister Chick Manley.

"My grandmother was a seller on Moore Street for over 50 years and her two sisters were sellers as well," Mr Kirwan (right) told the Herald.

"She is the last of the generation of street sellers who have been there for over 50 years. Everybody knew her."

He said his grandmother would have started working at her own mother Margaret Manley's stall as a young girl. "She used to help her mother who had a stall before her, she and her two sisters," Mr Kirwan said.

During her years selling apples, oranges and strawberries, Mrs Manley met many people, including celebrities like legendary singer Roy Orbison.

He said: "He was taking strawberries off her. He didn't pay for them, either, that's what my uncle said.

Character

"She was a real character for the street. They all had a motto – no one could get married on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They were the biggest selling days".

His great-grandmother Margaret Manley was the first of the family to begin street trading and she won the Molly Malone prize in 1959 for the best kept stall.

Tina Kirwan, Mary's daughter, said they brought her mother to Moore Street recently but she hardly recognised it.

"She was a great character. She loved it. It was her life," she said.

The family originally hails from the north inner city but moved to Finglas when Alan was about eight.

His grandmother, who has 10 children, stopped selling only about 10 years ago – one of her daughters has continued on the tradition.

Alan added: "She was a great character. She was a real joker. Everyone knew her on the street. She always had a saying – when people use to put their hand into the stall she used to say, 'did you lose your engagement ring there'. The street was her life."

Mrs Manley's funeral mass will take place at St Michan's Church at 11am. Afterwards, the cortege will pass through Moore Street at about 12.30pm and stop for a moment close to where she had her stall.

She is to be buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross.

comurphy@herald.ie


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