Molly McFlynn: Co Derry's 'Queen of Connemara' leaves massive mark
WHEN Molly McFlynn left this world aged 91, she left a massive mark on those who knew her far and wide.
Born in Magherafelt in 1927 to Tommy and Bridget Bateson, Molly spent her early years in Rainey Street before moving with her five brothers out to Ballymaguigan.
Growing up on the loughshore in those pre-war days was not easy but there was plenty to do and she helped her mother with the many chores at home which included walking her father's greyhounds.
When Molly was 10 the family moved again to Killafaddy on the Ballyronan Road.
She became aware of Gaelic games and was a follower of Newbridge Sean O'Leary's before Ballymaguigan started a team in 1944 and she became a follower of her 'home' parish.
Molly met a Loup blacksmith, Mickey McFlynn, and they married in 1950 and moved to 'The Quarter' and later Lawford Street in Moneymore.
They would have 12 children in all - Brian, Tom, Amelia, Marion, Michael, Bernie, Teresa, Blaithine. Siobhan, Garoid, Paddy and Eileen.
When her children were raised, Molly immersed herself in the community life of Moneymore becoming involved in plays, the credit union and Pioneer association.
A pioneer since she was 14, Molly once quipped: "I didn't drink nor did I smoke and if I didn't eat I would've been a prophet."
She also took part in charity walks up Slieve Gallion and raised money for Moneymore parish and organisations including Marie Curie, Macmillan, Children in Crossfire, various missionaries and an orphanage in Zimbabwe where her late daughter Bernie once lived.
The last few years of Mickey's life were beset by illness and Molly cared for him until he moved to a nursing home. She visited him daily until his death in 2000.
Molly's later years were taken up with her great interest in Irish culture, being a member of Loup Comhaltas and attending fleadhs the length and breadth of Ireland as well as local sessions, especially at her good friend Tilly McVey's bar in the Loup where she was famous for her poems and storytelling.
She took part in the Scór for Moneymore Henry Joy McCracken's GFC, making the county semi-finals in her 85th year.
Involvement in the cross-community church forum also took her to many interesting places in Ireland while building bridges in the community.
An avid reader, Molly was a committed supporter of a united Ireland but more importantly the unity of its people regardless of creed or colour.
Up until the age of 90 she attended the annual Easter commemoration for her late husband's cousin Sean Larkin of Bellagherty, who was executed in the Irish Civil War.
Molly McFlynn died on February 7. Pre-deceased by her husband Mickey, daughter Bernie Harbison and grandson Brian McFlynn, she is survived by 11 children, her brothers Charlie and Tommy and family circle.
May the 'Queen of Connemara' - as she once memorably introduced herself to the local parish priest - rest in peace.