In memory of Margaret Gallagher, the last of a generation.

On this day, 25 August 1979, the youngest and last surviving child of our great great grandparents, died. She was Margaret Gallagher from Mulnamina, Glenties, Co.Donegal who was born just after Christmas in 1893, the 10th child of famine survivors, Daniel Gallagher and Isabella Mulloy. Margaret, known as Maggie, but who referred to herself as ‘Peg’, was aged 86.

How we children loved heading to Glenties to her little house on the side of the hill, overlooking Gweebarra Bay! Her brother – Uncle John – lived here with her in the three roomed house – 2 bedrooms and a kitchen. The front door was always open and we would run straight into the flag floored kitchen with its open turf fire. The kettle was swung over the hot embers the minute we arrived, and the fire raked. Small in stature with her hair tied back in a roll, she moved about very fast, her long skirt covered with an apron, busying herself setting out the table, in spite of protests that ‘a cup of tea’ would be fine. There was no running water, so all the water was drawn from a well. Only 3 lightbulbs were connected to the electricity supply and a battery operated wireless stood up on a shelf.

Aunt Maggie was unmarried. She had been a dressmaker living in the nearby town of Glenties and had been engaged to be married. When duty bound to return home to care for family,that relationship ended. Her mother, Isabella, died in 1925, and then her sister Kate died of T.B. just 10 months later. Kate had lived at home, with her parents and brother John who was also unmarried. Aunt Maggie then became the carer to her father Daniel, who died within three years of Isabella, at the age of 87. Losing parents and a sister so close together must have been very sad for her.

Running up the lane to her house was all part of our great adventure. We invariably arrived unannounced and always in good weather. We ran about outside, inspecting hens, byres, the donkey, cows, apple trees, and Spot the dog who lived in a cozy stone lined kennel hewn into the bank. We would be called in for tea after a while, and that could either be fresh baked bread and home made jam or a chicken dinner, the key ingredient being a hen we had met just a short time earlier!

Gweebarra Bay as seen from near my great grandparents home.

It is sad to visit the lonely and unkempt grave where she and her brother John now lie. The plaque that my father placed at the foot of the headstone some years after her death is now almost illegible. The grave is not easy to find, but I will make my way up the hill and across the uneven ground in a few weeks time to leave some flowers among the weeds.

The plaque my father laid on the grave where John and Maggie lie.

I like this little poem as it reminds me of the simple, quiet lives they led, up there on the side of the hill, over looking the Gweebarra.

”Where do people go to when they die?
Somewhere down below or in the sky?
‘I can’t be sure,’ said Grandad, ‘but it seems
They simply set up home inside our dreams.’ ”

By Jeanne Willis

She lives inside my dreams

13 Comments

Filed under Ireland

13 responses to “In memory of Margaret Gallagher, the last of a generation.

  1. A lovely tribute .. and what a selfless lady she was…
    That is a great way to look at those passed… for they do indeed live inside our dreams.

  2. Bernadette Mellon

    Wonderful memories Angela

  3. A beautiful memories of your aunt and a fine tribute to her. I am glad you were able to find and visit her grave. May she continue to live inside your dreams…and heart.

  4. Maire Veitch

    Dear Angela,
    Regarding Margaret Gallagher,and her parents Daniel and Isabella Gallagher,from Mulnamina.My great grandparents were Daniel Gallagher,1845-1918,and Ellen Gallagher.1848-1910,both from Mulnamina.They married in 1868,and together had 9 children. Daniel’s father was also named Daniel,1797-1877,Mulnamina,and Ellen,1808-1874. Ellen’s father was Fergal Gallagher,married to ? Catherine.
    There is some controversary that GGGrandfather,Daniel’s wife was Hannah Sweeney,but I have been unable to verify this,both had a son John present at death in Mulnamina.I would be intrigued to know if there is a connection to your Gallaghers and mine.My great grandparents,lived at the bridge,overlooking Gweebarra bay.My grandfather Michael was known as “Mickey the Bridge”,his father was known as Dan the fiddler,he played the violin.
    That is about all the information I have at present on the Daniels. Hoping to hear from you.I live in NSW,Australia.
    Regards,
    Maire Veitch.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    ________________________________

    • Hi Marie. I think that we are probable from the same family alright but I don’t know how. Maybe your Daniel’s father Daniel was a brother to my Daniels father John? My father used know Hannah The Bridge And his first cousin lived in Bridge Cottage. I am not sure how it came to him. Have you done a DNA test? If you would email me at the silvervoice at gmail dot com we can compare notes. I am not at home at the moment. Thanks for getting in touch. 😀

    • Hi Marie. I think that we are probable from the same family alright but I don’t know how. Maybe your Daniel’s father Daniel was a brother to my Daniels father John? My father used know Hannah The Bridge I am in something of a rush just now

    • Hi Marie. I think that we are probable from the same family alright but I don’t know how. Maybe your Daniel’s father Daniel was a brother to my Daniels father John? My father used know Hannah The Bridge I am in something of a rush just now but I will get back to you ! Angela

  5. Lovely tribute and memories Angela. It is sad that so many pass on only to be forgotten within a generation or less. So many lives lived, their stories untold.

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