Lives Remembered

Armagh woman Kathleen Donnelly was nanny to everyone

Gerry Donnelly would sing I'll Take You Home Kathleen to his wife of more than 60 years

KATHLEEN Donnelly was everyone's nanny in Drumarg Park in Armagh city.

When children came to visit, she would always have sweets or ice lollies on hand.

When a baby was born on the street she would crochet a cardigan or jumper to celebrate.

Her door was always open and her home was the daily meeting place for her large family and all her neighbours and many friends.

The smell of home-made cooking and baking met you at the door and no-one left without a cup of tea.

Kathleen and her husband Gerry were the first residents to move into the street when it was built in the 1960s.

They met at a dance at Armagh city hall and were inseparable the rest of their lives.

Gerry, who grew up in a sweet shop beside St Patrick's Cathedral, was famous as the wee plasterer who wore a shirt and tie under his boiler suit. Tie or no tie, he was one of the best plasterers in town.

He also had a fine opera voice. He was a member of the cathedral choir and sang opera in the city hall - and after a whiskey or two he loved to serenade his wife with I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen.

Kathleen, who was from a family of four born in Castle Street, cooked dinners in St Catherine's intermediate school and worked in the Burnswear slipper factory.

However, her day never stopped - she knitted for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as sending clothes away to those less fortunate abroad.

The couple lived just behind the GAA's Athletic Grounds and used to watch all the games from their bedroom window. Gerry himself had played for Pearse Ógs.

They were thrilled to finally get to hold the Sam Maguire Cup in 2002, the year of their 50th wedding anniversary.

Their daughter Jacqueline would go on to represent the county in camogie.

The couple made numerous trips to Philadelphia to see Jacqueline and her sister Gail and made lots of Irish and American friends.

They were blessed with 21 grandchildren and more than 30 great-grandchildren.

Gerry passed away aged 81 in August 2014. Kathleen was 82 when she died in December last year.

They are survived by their children Bernie, Patrick, Elaine, Gary, Martin, Jacqueline and Gail and sorely missed by all their family and friends in Armagh, Manchester, Philadelphia and Cork.

Lives Remembered