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43 years later and Mary steps down from her role at Valentia Observatory

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Mary O'Sullivan who retired from Valentia Observatory after 43 years. Front Left to Right: James and Mary O'Sullivan, Charles Gillman, Mike Donegan, Eamon English, and Michael Brennan . Back Left to right: Jjohn Shea, Mike Gill, John Murphy Lleo Mccarth, Ryan Murray, Emilia Driiscoll, Pat Shine Kiieran Casey, Andrew Garvey and Tommy Sulliva. Photo by Christy Riordan.

Mary O'Sullivan who retired from Valentia Observatory after 43 years. Front Left to Right: James and Mary O'Sullivan, Charles Gillman, Mike Donegan, Eamon English, and Michael Brennan . Back Left to right: Jjohn Shea, Mike Gill, John Murphy Lleo Mccarth, Ryan Murray, Emilia Driiscoll, Pat Shine Kiieran Casey, Andrew Garvey and Tommy Sulliva. Photo by Christy Riordan.

Mary O'Sullivan with her husband James on her retirement from Valentia Observatory after 43 years. Photo by Christy Riordan.

Mary O'Sullivan with her husband James on her retirement from Valentia Observatory after 43 years. Photo by Christy Riordan.

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Mary O'Sullivan who retired from Valentia Observatory after 43 years. Front Left to Right: James and Mary O'Sullivan, Charles Gillman, Mike Donegan, Eamon English, and Michael Brennan . Back Left to right: Jjohn Shea, Mike Gill, John Murphy Lleo Mccarth, Ryan Murray, Emilia Driiscoll, Pat Shine Kiieran Casey, Andrew Garvey and Tommy Sulliva. Photo by Christy Riordan.

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She was 20 years old when she started working behind the scenes at Valentia Observatory and now 43 years on she has stepped down from what can only be seen as a key backroom role in the day-to-day functioning of the observatory.

As the daily cleaner at Valentia Observatory, Mary was tasked at looking after the building that is instrumental in weather forecasts in Ireland. 

Over the years of her long-time service she worked with many people and she says she loved and enjoyed her job. 

“I really enjoyed it. I got on great with everyone. It was nice to play a part in the role of the observatory.” 

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“I was very happy there and I will miss the chats.”

She said she was “treated well” throughout her time in the job. 

However, having worked there five days a week for the past 43 years and is now looking forward to “having time for herself” and more importantly time to spend with her beloved grandchildren – Jamie and Mary-Kate here in Ireland and Hayley in the US. She will also be kept busy on the farm. 

Mary worked in Cahersiveen Community Hospital prior to the observatory but having seen the job advertised she applied, got the job and the rest is history. 

Reminiscing this week she said she can’t believe how much time has passed. 

“ I stated in February 1979 .. I was 20 and I turned 21 that May and now I am 63 .. where does the time go?” 

In the interim she also raised her family – daughters Patricia and Louise. Patricia is now in New York and first on Mary’s agenda is a visit there in September. Her daughter Patricia is expecting her 4th grandchildren in July and was unable to attend Mary’s retirement celebrations but now that she is no longer working she is planning a holiday to the US. 

Mary who is married to James celebrated her retirement in style with two parties – one with family and friends and the other with staff at Valentia Observatory. 


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