Molly McKeague: Loving mother leaves behind an amazing legacy
MOLLY McKeague was a loving mother-of-12 who was also richly blessed with 48 grandchildren and 85 great-grandchildren and has left an amazing legacy.
Molly, who died just a few weeks short of her 100th birthday, was the daughter of Patrick Joseph and Annie O'Hare fro Ballymaginty, Leitrim, Co Down.
Patrick was a seaman in the Merchant navy and he and Annie - originally from Carrickfergus - were living in Middlesbrough in the north-east of England when Molly (Mary Anne) was born in January 1919.
She was very young when they returned to Ballymaginty, where she grew up in the care of her grandfather and her aunts and uncle.
Molly went to Maghermayo school and then the technical college in Castlewellan and in 1938 headed off to London to pursue a career in nursing. However, following the outbreak of World War II and at the beckoning of her family in Ireland, she returned home.
When she first encountered Nicholas McKeague at her aunt Katie's marriage to his older brother John, she didn't give him a second look. However, that changed with a visit to Damston, Dunloy, Co Antrim and the planning of Nicky's mother to get this girl from Co Down for her son.
In June 1940 they were married in Gargary Chapel, Co Down and they set up home at Pikehill, Dunloy, where they worked tirelessly on their farm and raised nine girls and three boys.
Molly was involved with numerous chores out on the farm as well as running the household. She had little time for hobbies - hard work was there every day - but she was a strong, happy woman with unwavering faith, hope and trust in God.
In 1970, she and Nicky bought a small grocery store on Main Street in Dunloy and served the community, enjoying the camaraderie of many wonderful people from around the area.
At home Molly loved a good western as well as a sing-song with all her family round her. In her retirement she occasionally enjoyed a holiday to the Canary Islands.
In 1995 she said goodbye to the love of her life when God called Nicky home. They were also predeceased by three infant sons.
However, she was always full of thanks and gratitude for everything that was done for her, never complained about anything and always showed unconditional love for all of her family.
Molly McKeague went home to heaven on All Saints Day and her month's mind Mass will be celebrated at 10.30am tomorrow at St Joseph's Church, Dunloy. She is sadly missed by all of her family.