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Face to Face with Mary McKenna. “It takes all sorts to make the world” and “everyone has a talent for something” are two statements commonly heard as we go through life. According to the Gospels, we are all to find out what talent we have and then use it for our own benefit and the benefit of the community in which we live. We are warned not to be like the man in the Gospel, who when he was given one talent, hid it and kept it safe rather than use it with the risk of losing it. Mary McKenna, Oriel Park, Emyvale, found her talent and has used it to the great benefit of the Emyvale community. She was born Mary McCarron in Killyloughavoy, near Killybrone. Her father was Thomas McCarron and her mother, Margaret, nee McKenna, from Durless, near Augher. The other members of the family are: John (Mullananacask); Tom (Killydreen); Peter (Birmingham); Pat (Ballinode); Kathleen (Manchester); Susan (Fintona); and Annie (Aughnacloy). Early Life Mary attended Killybrone N.S. under Mrs. McMeel and Master Coyle, but, like the majority at the time, working life began in the early teens. She worked in St. Louis Convent, Monaghan, and various other places including a leading hotel in Bundoran. In 1941 she married a neighbour, Paddy McKenna, from Tavanagh. The wedding took place in Ballyoisin with Fr. Shreenan as celebrant. Their first home was at Dernavade, which is just on the border. Smuggling Smuggling was big business at the time and so nights were usually quite alive with activity in that area. The newly-weds could hear the comings and goings and they could not have a dog at the house. When they had, he used bark as the smugglers furtively went about ‘their work’ but the bark was drawing attention to them and so, unhappily for Mary, the dog had to be got rid of. The McMeels (Peter, Arthur, Veronica and family) had been living at Shanko but moved to Emyvale and, when they did, Paddy and Mary took over their house at Shanko, at the entrance to Fortsingleton. They were to spend fifteen years there, during which time Paddy was working as labourer, builder and indeed farmworker too. Then in the mid-50’s Monaghan County Council began building a housing estate at Emyvale. Paddy got a job there and helped build the houses and, at times, acted as night-watchman on the site. The houses were allocated and the residents moved in, but soon afterwards in 1960, Gerard Macklin, who had one of the house, emigrated with his family and Paddy McKenna and family were given the house. He also got a new job as postman, delivering from Emyvale Post Office. His usual run took him out round Edenmore School, Toneyfinnegan etc. but before that he would deliver the town mail. At first he travelled by bicycle but he soon got a little Mini, which made the job a little easier, though more costly. Nineteen years ago he took ill and died a week later, leaving Mary with their six children:- May (Armagh); Dette (Emyvale); Kay (Ballinode); Geraldine (Oriel Park); Mona (Deravoy) and Martin (Oriel Park). Showpiece When the family moved into their new house in Oriel Park, the gardens and surrounds were beginning to take shape. Every householder was busy planting, digging, sowing, painting, and decorating and very soon it was becoming clear that Oriel Park was going to be a showpiece. Opposite McKenna’s house was a bog, full of rushes and a dump into which the septic tanks of the estate drained. Monaghan Co. Co. began filling it in and soon the houses were all joined up to the Main Sewerage system in the village. The bog became a park and Childrens’ play areas were established, but maintaining it in good shape was going to be a problem. Mary stepped in and she began to look after the park. Son-in-law, Martin McQuillan became involved and he kept the grass cut and the verges and hedges trimmed and the area was transformed. Tidy Towns was mentioned and Mary was one of the founder members of the committee to enter the village in the competition. It was nothing new for Mary as she was anxious to see her own area and the village as a whole looking ‘spick and span’. Painter Her horizons broadened and her talents at painting, weeding and planting were put to good use all over the village and its surrounds. Her spirit was to be seen in other people as well and year by year the marks for Emyvale in the competition increased and then prizes were being won. Oriel Park justly won many awards for its neatness, colour and beauty. Mary gave numerous hours and days to painting litterbins, summer seats, fencing and kerbs. Mary obviously loves painting and has used her talent to bring credit to Emyvale. All her work was done on a voluntary basis and to show appreciation for this, Mary was selected by the Tidy Towns Committee on many occasions to accept awards at prizegiving ceremonies. She was in Donegal, Tipperary, Limerick and Dublin and is proud of her photos taken in the Gresham Hotel, when John Bruton and the late P.V. Doyle made presentations to her as the Emyvale delegate. The Future Where now for Tidy Towns? For the past few years the main work for Tidy Towns in Emyvale has been carried out by workers on a Fás scheme. Unfortunately this year no scheme is in operation and much of the work is being left undone. Mary is still doing her bit but she thinks that if a concerted effort was made by all dwellers then Emyvale could still hold its place in the competition. She agrees that the weather has not been the best for Tidy Towns work but there is plenty that could be done. Monaghan Co. Co. and the contractors have done a terrific job at the new Bridge and the approach road, This will be of great assistance in giving a nice impression for travellers through the village but locals could put the finishing touches to it. Praise for Children She has great praise for the children of the town and their willingness to help. With some encouragement they will do anything and work very hard. There have been times when so many have offered to help Mary that she has had to put them on a rota. She would like to see more encouragement and direction for these young people and to instil a pride in them at an early age. So enthusiastic is she about all this work that she would talk all night about it but, more important, she would work all day and so lead by example. Full of Life Mary is a lady full of life and of humble tactics. She is full of common sense and enjoys every day of her life, which is crowded with activity. To pass the time, she will pick mushrooms for John Fields and he classes her as a tip-top worker. She claims that John’s mushrooms are the best. At night she goes to Bingo. Win or Lose, she enjoys the social side of the night out. She used to go six nights a week and twice on a Sunday. Now she attends Emyvale and Ballygawley and now and again elsewhere. For holidays there is nowhere better than the Isle of Man. She has been there for a number of Summer vacations and really enjoys the night life there and is looking forward to going there again this year. But most of all, Mary is interested in her family – her children, her grandchildren and her seven great grandchildren. Mary has been involved in many a laugh. When Fancy Dress parades were held, she was there with an original idea. When Hats were needed for the Madhatters Tea Party, she was sure to have a good one. She laments the fact that there are fewer events now for peoples’ enjoyment, especially the older citizens and for someone like Mary, who seems to have endless energy, there would need to be something organised every night. Mary is a wonderful lady with a heart of gold and can rightly be described as a ‘Star Volunteer’ for what she has contributed to the life of the community. Thank you Mary.
All Content Copyright emyvale.net
Face to Face with Mary McKenna. “It takes all sorts to make the world” and “everyone has a talent for something” are two statements commonly heard as we go through life. According to the Gospels, we are all to find out what talent we have and then use it for our own benefit and the benefit of the community in which we live. We are warned not to be like the man in the Gospel, who when he was given one talent, hid it and kept it safe rather than use it with the risk of losing it. Mary McKenna, Oriel Park, Emyvale, found her talent and has used it to the great benefit of the Emyvale community. She was born Mary McCarron in Killyloughavoy, near Killybrone. Her father was Thomas McCarron and her mother, Margaret, nee McKenna, from Durless, near Augher. The other members of the family are: John (Mullananacask); Tom (Killydreen); Peter (Birmingham); Pat (Ballinode); Kathleen (Manchester); Susan (Fintona); and Annie (Aughnacloy). Early Life Mary attended Killybrone N.S. under Mrs. McMeel and Master Coyle, but, like the majority at the time, working life began in the early teens. She worked in St. Louis Convent, Monaghan, and various other places including a leading hotel in Bundoran. In 1941 she married a neighbour, Paddy McKenna, from Tavanagh. The wedding took place in Ballyoisin with Fr. Shreenan as celebrant. Their first home was at Dernavade, which is just on the border. Smuggling Smuggling was big business at the time and so nights were usually quite alive with activity in that area. The newly- weds could hear the comings and goings and they could not have a dog at the house. When they had, he used bark as the smugglers furtively went about ‘their work’ but the bark was drawing attention to them and so, unhappily for Mary, the dog had to be got rid of. The McMeels (Peter, Arthur, Veronica and family) had been living at Shanko but moved to Emyvale and, when they did, Paddy and Mary took over their house at Shanko, at the entrance to Fortsingleton. They were to spend fifteen years there, during which time Paddy was working as labourer, builder and indeed farmworker too. Then in the mid-50’s Monaghan County Council began building a housing estate at Emyvale. Paddy got a job there and helped build the houses and, at times, acted as night- watchman on the site. The houses were allocated and the residents moved in, but soon afterwards in 1960, Gerard Macklin, who had one of the house, emigrated with his family and Paddy McKenna and family were given the house. He also got a new job as postman, delivering from Emyvale Post Office. His usual run took him out round Edenmore School, Toneyfinnegan etc. but before that he would deliver the town mail. At first he travelled by bicycle but he soon got a little Mini, which made the job a little easier, though more costly. Nineteen years ago he took ill and died a week later, leaving Mary with their six children:- May (Armagh); Dette (Emyvale); Kay (Ballinode); Geraldine (Oriel Park); Mona (Deravoy) and Martin (Oriel Park). Showpiece When the family moved into their new house in Oriel Park, the gardens and surrounds were beginning to take shape. Every householder was busy planting, digging, sowing, painting, and decorating and very soon it was becoming clear that Oriel Park was going to be a showpiece. Opposite McKenna’s house was a bog, full of rushes and a dump into which the septic tanks of the estate drained. Monaghan Co. Co. began filling it in and soon the houses were all joined up to the Main Sewerage system in the village. The bog became a park and Childrens’ play areas were established, but maintaining it in good shape was going to be a problem. Mary stepped in and she began to look after the park. Son-in- law, Martin McQuillan became involved and he kept the grass cut and the verges and hedges trimmed and the area was transformed. Tidy Towns was mentioned and Mary was one of the founder members of the committee to enter the village in the competition. It was nothing new for Mary as she was anxious to see her own area and the village as a whole looking ‘spick and span’. Painter Her horizons broadened and her talents at painting, weeding and planting were put to good use all over the village and its surrounds. Her spirit was to be seen in other people as well and year by year the marks for Emyvale in the competition increased and then prizes were being won. Oriel Park justly won many awards for its neatness, colour and beauty. Mary gave numerous hours and days to painting litterbins, summer seats, fencing and kerbs. Mary obviously loves painting and has used her talent to bring credit to Emyvale. All her work was done on a voluntary basis and to show appreciation for this, Mary was selected by the Tidy Towns Committee on many occasions to accept awards at prizegiving ceremonies. She was in Donegal, Tipperary, Limerick and Dublin and is proud of her photos taken in the Gresham Hotel, when John Bruton and the late P.V. Doyle made presentations to her as the Emyvale delegate. The Future Where now for Tidy Towns? For the past few years the main work for Tidy Towns in Emyvale has been carried out by workers on a Fás scheme. Unfortunately this year no scheme is in operation and much of the work is being left undone. Mary is still doing her bit but she thinks that if a concerted effort was made by all dwellers then Emyvale could still hold its place in the competition. She agrees that the weather has not been the best for Tidy Towns work but there is plenty that could be done. Monaghan Co. Co. and the contractors have done a terrific job at the new Bridge and the approach road, This will be of great assistance in giving a nice impression for travellers through the village but locals could put the finishing touches to it. Praise for Children She has great praise for the children of the town and their willingness to help. With some encouragement they will do anything and work very hard. There have been times when so many have offered to help Mary that she has had to put them on a rota. She would like to see more encouragement and direction for these young people and to instil a pride in them at an early age. So enthusiastic is she about all this work that she would talk all night about it but, more important, she would work all day and so lead by example. Full of Life Mary is a lady full of life and of humble tactics. She is full of common sense and enjoys every day of her life, which is crowded with activity. To pass the time, she will pick mushrooms for John Fields and he classes her as a tip-top worker. She claims that John’s mushrooms are the best. At night she goes to Bingo. Win or Lose, she enjoys the social side of the night out. She used to go six nights a week and twice on a Sunday. Now she attends Emyvale and Ballygawley and now and again elsewhere. For holidays there is nowhere better than the Isle of Man. She has been there for a number of Summer vacations and really enjoys the night life there and is looking forward to going there again this year. But most of all, Mary is interested in her family – her children, her grandchildren and her seven great grandchildren. Mary has been involved in many a laugh. When Fancy Dress parades were held, she was there with an original idea. When Hats were needed for the Madhatters Tea Party, she was sure to have a good one. She laments the fact that there are fewer events now for peoples’ enjoyment, especially the older citizens and for someone like Mary, who seems to have endless energy, there would need to be something organised every night. Mary is a wonderful lady with a heart of gold and can rightly be described as a ‘Star Volunteer’ for what she has contributed to the life of the community. Thank you Mary.