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SLIABH LIAG DISTILLERS

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MM

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Mum

Mum was immensely proud of the distillery and its connection to her Dad Frank Carr. She turned the sod with us on the Distillery, helped with bottling and was always ready with an opinion on how we good do it better. She battled MND for more than 2 years as it cruelly took her voice and her independence but she slipped away on the morning of 10 June, much love, surrounded by family and she is at peace.

 

She left Donegal for opportunity in the 60’s and we came back to bring opportunity to the whole Sliabh Liag peninsula hopefully to give people like mum an opportunity to stay. If you ever wonder where the fierce drive that burns within us comes from to deliver this vision then perhaps our Euology to mum might help:

Rose, Roise, Mum, Granny, Great Granny

Sorry mum but I might start by talking about your two great loves Dad and Elvis – Dad’s crowning glory was his hair, a quiff not unlike Elvis but it was Elvis that sang “softly”…and hear it is, I wont sing

Softly

I will leave you

Softly

For my heart would break

If you should wake

And see me go

So I leave you

Softly

Long before you miss me

Long before your arms

Can beg me stay

For one more hour

Or one more day

After all the years

I can’t bear the tears

To fall

So softly

As I leave you there

As I leave you there.

Softly was how Rose left us on Saturday morning, but today we should focus rather on WHAT she left us including memories –  not HOW she left us.

Mum was raised in Meenacannon in the younger set of 14 children. She would gleefully tell how she and Aine and Cathal would get into scrapes but be quick enough to outrun their dad who was already a good age when she came along. The glee tells something of mums willingness to back her self, her quick wittedness and willingness to take risks – though quite how that makes you qualified to be a Ban Garda I don’t know…maybe it was the thought of car chases (because she LOVED driving). She never did become a gard but rather headed to Dublin and into what today would be called telecoms before heading to the UK in 1965.

The home she made with dad went from a flat above a fish shop to a terrace in Walton Road to 9 Common Lane in New Haw which was home for Mum and Dad and Steve and I – but also surprisingly for a 3 bedroom semi it accommodated multiple nephews nieces and cousins (some here) as they made their way on the main land. The generosity of spirit the no-nonsense approach to life and a spirit of “divide small and share all” left us all better off and better equipped to make a go in the world.

Mum took great delight in Steve, Trevor, Denise and me as we developed, though never quite lost a disciplinarian side that came from never having the opportunities that she and dad afforded us- thank goodness we had no sally rods in our garden! Though even knowing how impatient she was we foolishly tested her patience on rather too many occasions.

We all holidayed at home in Meenacannon most summers and here you saw mum at her most care free. While we ran amuk like feral children she got to spend time with her brothers and sisters and just “be” in the happiest and most care free times. This was the reason for building the beautiful home in Meenacannon – to enjoy their retirement and recapture these halcyon days. It is a legacy we will enjoy and remember them fondly when we are together here.

Mum battled skin cancer in the 80’s when treatments were nothing like those of today – in and out of hospital for 6 months with some pretty brutal and archaic medicine  and all done with a fierce independence and stoic resilience that we would again see when she contracted MND the cruel disease that would ultimately take her from us. Having nursed aunty Theresa through MND it must have been doubly frightening as MND stole her voice and left her increasingly isolated and she knew what was coming.

The transition from mother to mother in law was interesting one for mum, and she would come to cherish the wedding days, her new daughter in laws – finding in them fellow mothers,  friends and allies. But most of all a shared joy in our children – her grand children all 8 of them. She seemed to relish the more relaxed pressure of being granny, Granny Sandwich to Shannon – as they fed sandwiches to the ducks at the lake together. She took joy in seeing Shannon, Rosie, Aidan, Kiera, Thomas, Declan, Owen and Alex grown up and their attainments in academic, sporting and social realms – In them we see the best of Mum and Dad and we will find comfort in that, though sadly the secrets of the “best cupboard” she takes with her!  This joy seemed only to be heightened by becoming a great grand mother to Lola, Saoirse and Lennon.

She was an wonderful cook and Christmas dinners were legendary, a great baker too and could always be counted on for a Passion fruit Pav-a-lova as mum would call it or perhaps better known as a Fab-a-lova to Kiera and Owen.

Mum was a no fuss can do Donegal woman and was one of those rare individuals who loved glossing wood work. She would chuckle along listening to the radio, enjoying the craic, though what that has to do with banjo strings is no ones business.

Having come back to her true home Kilcar, in 2019, and never wanting to be on the sidelines, she took to the bottling line in the distillery and she told me that she had everything under control, but to hear the raucous laughter from the bottling line some times left me in doubt about that. She did this while caring for dad full time and the kindness the team showed her while she was nursing dad was humbling and we are very grateful.

The last 2 and a half years were so tough on mum. Though intensely private she enjoyed the company of others and was sharp as a tack to the end. She had lots of support formally and informally from family, friends, work colleagues and to the wider community for all of that we are extraordinarily grateful for helping mum through what was a difficult journey. 

Her final time at the hospice in Letterkenny was incredible, she seemed serene there – there are angels in this world and some of them work as nurses and doctors in Letterkenny hospice – thank you.

Mum has left us but much lives on:

  • a resolute commitment to dad and his care despite her own challenges and she showed this until the very end 
  • a fierce and unbreakable  independence – falling doesn’t matter just don’t take long to get up. 
  • a sheltering love for us all that protected us but let us test ourselves, build independence that has helped us succeed in the world in so many different ways. 
  •  A passion for a good burn up (we all have inherited this) – she loved a good fire and would prod and poke it to ensure like her it burned brightly even if it set fire to most of the land below the house.
  • above all love, a rich uncomplicated love for dad that lasted 56 years

I know she was proud of us and I know that in the strong Donegal woman kind of way she was never going to let on too us too much lest we get ahead of ourselves.

Well mum, here you are home and at peace. Fear not we will look after Dad and each other for you. We are sure the good lord has already seen you, Aine and all your brothers taking on heaven with a visible sense of mischief and we can take comfort knowing that you have you your voice back so you can put proper order on your siblings and sing like no one is listening. and we know that you are watching over us sure in the knowledge that yours was life well lived.

Thank you Mum.