Thursday 18 October 2018

Bridie was a woman of honesty and integrity

The late Bridget 'Bridie' Murphy.
The late Bridget 'Bridie' Murphy.

The community of Glenmalure valley came together to bid a final farewell to their dear friend and neighbour Bridget (Bridie) Murphy recently and to offer support to her family during this sad time.

Bridie lived in the valley for 87 years and contributed hugely to the building up of the community through her enthusiasm and active involvement in many organisations.

Born Bridget Valentine to Glen of Imaal native Michael and Bridget Valentine (née Connolly) in 1930, she was known as Bridget in school, Brudge to some old friends and later, Grandma and Nana to each new generation of her family.

While few of Bridie's contemporaries are still alive today, she could recall many childhood memories: bringing a penny to school to get hot cocoa, walking the roads sometimes as afar as Ballygannon in search of the pony on the eve of their shopping day, turning off the lights when an aeroplane flew overhead during World War II and the excitement of electricity coming to the valley in the 1950s.

Bridie worked weekends in the Glenmalure Hotel for Mrs Jackson at the age of 14 and continued working on and off in the hotel for more than 70 years. On leaving school, Bridie worked as a housekeeper in Dublin and left Glenmalure as the 1947 snowfall began.

Love and romance brought her home to Glenmalure when she married local man Jim Murphy of Kirikee and spent the rest of her life in the valley. Jim and Bridie had four children Mary, Anne, Peter and Mick. Sadly, Jim passed away in 1969, leaving Bridie a young widow at the age of 39.

With the help if her own mother, who lived with her, Bridie took up employment in the Glenmalure Hotel. She also worked with Mrs Lomer of Ballinacor Estate as a housekeeper, and as a home help with Paddy and Liz Dunne, Ballinabarney.

Glenmalure Hotel played a central part in Bridie's life. It was her place of employment, a place where she made everlasting friendships, her place to socialise and a place where she met hundreds of people both young and old over the years.

Bridie was a woman of vision who enjoyed company and believed firmly in the importance of community activities. Together with her late husband Jim, she took part in the parish drama group in the late 1960s.

When her family was reared, Bridie immersed herself in the activities of the valley and was always willing to do the work that was required. She enjoyed fundraising and inspired others to follow her example.

At the time of her passing she was president of Kirikee Drama, which she helped to revive in the 1990s and was president of Ballinacor Football and Camogie Clubs. Her husband had played with Ballinacor and she was very excited when the club was revived in 1983 and very proud when her sons and many grandsons took to the field in the white and green.

With the purchase of the new Ballinacor community field, Bridie had the vision to recognise this project was a positive step for the valley.

She was also a member of the Greenane Church Committee and Kirikee Hall.

Bridie embraced life and availed of every opportunity to travel and experience new places. Although she never learned to drive herself, she always enjoyed going for a drive, no matter how long or short. She travelled on many pilgrimages to Knock, Lourdes, San Giovanni and Medugorje.

She also joined the Rathdrum Historical Society and the senior citizens on their annual outings for many years and holidayed many times in Kerdiffstown House, Co Kildare.

Card playing was a big part of Bridie's life and in recent years, she and her dear friend Liz played cards regularly in Glenmalure, Ballinaclash and Woodenbridge.

Bridie will be sadly missed by all who knew her, as an iconic figure in the lives of her sister Eileen Furlong, Camolin, Co Wexford, her children Mary, Anne, Peter and Mick, her 16 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

She was a woman of honour, honesty and integrity who will be sorely missed in Glenmalure.

Wicklow People