Frances Griffin - generosity for others knew no bounds

The late Frances Griffin


FRANCES GRIFFIN (nee O'Brien), a native of Lickeen, Glencar, passed away from this life on Friday, July 12, 2013.

Frances (Francy) was born on July 15, 1923 one of nine children to parents Mary and John O'Brien, who were farmers.

Seven of their nine children emigrated to England and America in the 1950's. Only Frances and her sister Anne Lovett remained in Ireland.

At the age of 23, Frances married Tom Griffin (Tommy – Johnny) and set up home with him on his farm in Kealdubh, near Glenbeigh. Six of their children were born at home, in Kealdubh and in 1961 they relocated to Dublin to a new home and farm at Baldonnel, beside Casement Aerodrome.

Frances, their youngest child, was born the following year in St James' Hospital.

The old Irish saying, "ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís" (her likes will never be around again) very aptly sums up Frances. She came from a generation of women for whom hard work and sacrifices were the norm. She played many roles including homemaker, carer, farmer, horticulturalist, businesswoman, cook, seamstress and DIY expert, to name but a few.

She was always very proud of her Kerry roots and despite the fact that she lived in Dublin for 52 years there were times when she could be heard from a distance cheering for Kerry, especially if Dublin were the opposing team!

Her generosity and concern for others knew no bounds. This extended beyond her family and so many people who attended her wake and funeral commented on what a remarkable woman she was. She touched everyone who crossed paths with her no matter how brief or fleeting that encounter was.

Outside of the home her favourite pastime was the local ICA in Newcastle. She remained an active member for over 35 years and held various offices including President. In more recent years she joined the Country Market Group in Celbridge. Up until three years ago she drove to Celbridge each week where she set up her stall with machine and hand knitwear, crochet cushions and patchwork quilts.

Since her 89th birthday last year her health declined and by the end of September she required full time care. For the first time in her life she became totally dependent on others. During her declining health she remained cheerful and unfailingly positive throughout.

She resided in Lisheen Nursing home in Rathcoole since Christmas where she enjoyed excellent care, compassion and dignity.

The greatest joy in Frances' life was her family. After her dearly beloved husband, Tom, passed away 25 ago, her youngest son, also Tom, who resided with her, devoted his time and energies outside of his work, to ensuring that his mother enjoyed a full and active life.

Tom accompanied his mother on a number of overseas trips including America, to visit her siblings and relations. They never missed a Christening, First Communion, Confirmation or wedding, of the grandchildren and relatives. Her youngest daughter, also Frances, acted as style consultant and accompanied her mother on many shopping trips for outfits for the various celebrations.

It is a great tribute to the woman that all of her seven children, two daughters –in-law and four sons-in law, her 25 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and their respective partners and spouses gathered at her home for the weekend to be present for her passing, her wake and final departure.

The tradition of gathering at Donal and Miriam's home to celebrate her birthday has existed for several years. Last year Frances announced to her family that they would gather once again this year for her 90th birthday. She did not break that promise! It was fitting that her burial took place on her 90th birthday.

Frances has ensured that her family will continue to be united in her name henceforth, to celebrate and commemorate the legacy of a remarkable mother. The large attendance over the two days at her wake and at her funeral bore testament to the exceptional woman she was.

Frances is survived by her sister Anne, in Tipperary, her sisters Brigid and Eileen, in New York, her three sons, John, Donal and Tom and her four daughters, Joan, Mary Theresa and Frances.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dhílis.