Rosemary Swan, Kilmessan
On Monday evening, the street of Kilmessan was lined with people from all walks of life and all parts of the county as Rosemary Swan made her final journey through a village she had given so much to. From the bridge over the River Skane on the road to her Ringlestown home, right up to the parish church, stood a former Taoiseach, the current IFA national president, Tidy Towns volunteers, Trim Show members, Scurlogstown Olympiad folk with high nellies, politicians, farmers, locals, and countless others ready to escort Rosemary to the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where Fr Terence Toner was waiting to receive one of his most dedicated parishioners and community workers.
It wasn’t the first time Rosemary was honoured by her native village. Last summer, at the annual Skane Community Development Group sports and fun day, she received a surprise presentation marking her contribution to life in Kilmessan over so many years. Tributes were paid, and a clearly emotional Rosemary spoke of how she loved Kilmessan, its people and community spirit. It went unsaid, but everybody knew that she may not see the following summer’s fun day.
Sadly, she died just a day before she was to be honoured by the Scurlogstown Olympiad group with a testimonal dinner in Trim. She had every intention of attending it, and was very involved in the preparations for it, but was hospitalised just over a week before it, and died at the Hermitage Clinic in Lucan last Saturday, aged 67. Despite battling cancer, she carried on with her work and community activity to the very end, and recently was honoured by the Irish Farmers’ Association in Meath.
Born Rosemary McEntegart, she was daughter of Jimmy and Marie McEntegart of Alicebrook, Kilmessan, the Doran homestead of her mother. The Dorans were steeped in the traditions of Kilmessan and Meath sporting culture - her granduncle, WH (Harry) Doran, was a founder of the local hurling club, and gave over a field known as ‘Doran’s Field’ for the club to play its first games in the early 1880s. His brother, John, was a member of the famous Dowdstown team, the first team organised under the GAA in Meath. Both men were on the first ever County GAA Committee in Meath.
Rosemary married neighbour Vincent Swan, and they ran a number of enterprises at Ringlestown - a nursery and florist business, and later, a major free range hen operation. The egg business grew to 4,500 free range hens in its first three years.
They also bred cattle and horses, and in 2009, Rosemary was elected the first female chairperson of the North Leinster branch of the Hereford Society. She achieved considerable success with her pedigree Hereford herd, which carried the Kilmessan prefix. The UK Society Hereford president, Marcus Lury, while judging at the Northern Ireland Hereford Championships, selected Kilmessan Fred as the overall champion. He liked the bull so much that he visited Rosemary’s small pedigree herd and bought not one, but two Church Storm sons, Kilmessan Terry (2007 reserve champion at Oldcastle) and Kilmessan Sam. Another Tully graduate, Kilmessan Ted, was the 2007 champion at Castlewellan Show. She then bought Cloonbracken Gina to add to the herd genetics. At the Trim Show 2012, Kilmessan George, owned by George Stanley, was champion bull and reserve supreme champion.
In 1993, Rosemary became one of the growers for Living Shamrock, a company which designed gel grown shamrock, and has seen her produce being presented to two American presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, during the White House St Patrick’s Day visits by John Bruton and Enda Kenny as Taoisigh.
The fact that Kimessan, despite its expansion in recent years, has maintained much of its traditional charming look, is very much down to Rosemary Swan and the dedicated Tidy Towns committee she led for 22 years in the 1980s and 1990s, bringing eight county titles to the village before Moynalty began to dominate.
She was a member of the current Pride of Place committee, which brought further awards in recent years, and also spearheaded a restoration of the Church of Ireland graveyard in the village, where a ecumenical service now takes place every year as a result.
Deceased was a founder member of the Tara and District Credit Union, and was treasurer of the local group water scheme. She was also treasurer for a period of the Meath Council for the Blind.
In 1999, Rosemary Swan became chairperson of the Royal Meath Agricultural Show in Trim, a post she held at the time of her death. She began with big plans for the millennium show, introducing new initiatives over the years, and bringing on board new sponsors. She introduced a three-year old filly championship in memory of her mother, who had introduced her to the show as a child. In 2006, when the National Hereford Show was cancelled at Tullamore, she fully committed herself and the dedicated committee at Trim to providing an alternative venue at extremely short notice, and the event was an outstanding success. The Hereford Society honoured her at last year’s Trim Show.
With Scurlogstown Olympiad, she got great enjoyment from staging the donkey derby and show with Michael Fitzsimons, and was instrumental in the development of the Scurlogstown Heritage Park at Jack Quinn’s, also the recipient of Pride of Place Awards after being transformed from a derelict site.
Rosemary Swan was very involved in the Irish Farmers’ Association, and was the first female chairperson of the Kilmessan branch, and a chairperson of the county horse committee. At the last annual meeting, she was elected an annual life member in recognition of her outstanding long and loyal service to the association. As a member of Fine Gael, she organised numerous fundraisers and luncheons, and ran in the 1985 local elections for the party. She was also involved with the Dunderry Fair Committee.
In her earlier days, Rosemary enjoyed hunting, particularly with the Meath Hunt. With Andy and the late May Lynch, and Fr Andy Doyle, she helped establish the Dunsany Cross Country Chase. She enjoyed success in racehorse ownership, initially with Alicebrook Lady, and later with Elegant Kate, trained by Andy Lynch, who won her first time out in a winners’ bumper at Galway, went on to run six times, and was placed five times out of the six. Kate had up to a dozen foals, many of which have been very successful over hurdles and fences, and point-to-points. In another sport, Rosemary was a former North Leinster Pitch and Putt Champion.
There was very little that went on in Kilmessan or Dunsany that did not have Rosemary’s fingerprints on it, at a parish or community level. Her untimely passing leaves a huge void across not just her home parish but the county at large, as was indicated by the huge attendance at her obsequies over the past two days.
Rosemary is survived by her husband, Vincent; brother, JJ; sister, Anne; aunt Mary Malone, Navan; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and a large circle of friends. The funeral took place from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Kilmessan, to the adjoining cemetery, on Tuesday.
Paddy Tobin, Navan
The passing on Friday 8th November last of Paddy Tobin cast a pall of great sadness over the town of Navan and his native Cavan, where he had played club and county football. Paddy, a retired Telecom Eireann employee, died less than a year after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. He was aged 61, and had been involved in running Meath Cleaning Supplies and Services with his wife, Mary. As a former footballer, he was delighted to see his son, Sean, get a place on the Meath county team last year.
A native of Edenburt, Lisduff, Virginia, Paddy was a regular on Cavan senior panels during the 1970s, even getting his place on the team when work meant he wasn’t always around for training. His ability on the football field was evident from a young age and in 1969 he was part of a Mullagh combination that won the Cavan minor championship. He won a Cavan junior medal with his club Maghera McFinns in 1973 and followed this up by winning an intermediate medal in ‘74.
That same year, a Virginia parish amalgamation of Maghera, Virginia Blues and Lurgan, titled Ramor, won the Cavan senior football championship. Left footed Tobin who often alternated between midfield and the half forward line was one of the stars.
Paddy Tobin’s work with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, later Telecom Eireann and Eircom, brought him to Navan in the 1970s. He married Mary Dunne and the family settled at ‘Chellowdene’ on the Proudstown Road.
During the late 1990s he became very active in the underage section of Simonstown GFC, where Sean was playing. He enjoyed following football, supporting the club, his adopted county and his native county, and his opinions after a match were always sought. He also enjoyed the banter and craic over a pint, and was very gifted with his hands.
Paddy was a great husband and father to his wife and children, supporting his family in their footballing, athletics and golfing activities, and after his retirement from Telecom, was the backbone and a great support for Mary in the cleaning and supplies business, helping to bring it to where it is today, through difficult times.
He adored his grandsons, and was especially proud when Sean gained a place on the Meath senior county team early last year, and put in a man of the match-winning performance against Wicklow.
Paddy is survived by Mary; family, Sonya, Ann and Sean; sons-in-law, Micky and Roy; grandchildren, Cian and Nathan; brothers, Ambrose and Pierce; mother-in-law, brothers and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives and a large circle of friends. The funeral Mass took place in St Mary’s Church, Navan, followed by burial in Maghera Cemetery.
John T Meegan, Duleek and New York
The untimely death occurred of Duleek native, John T Meegan, of Yonkers, New York, USA, on 6th January last, aged 51. From St Martin’s, Larrix Street, Duleek, he was on a visit to Quebec, Canada, when he took ill and passed away.
John was a master carpenter, who had played football for Duleek and in New York played for Meath. He played soccer for Duleek and in New York for St Barnabas. John also played golf and was an avid rally driver and spectator.
Son of Olive and the late Larry Meegan, he is survived by his mother; son, Christopher; brothers, Gerard, Martin, Paul; sister, Bernadette; brother-in-law, Philip; sisters-in-law, Breege and Paula; nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
John Meegan’s remains reposed at his mother’s residence, with removal to St Cianan’s Church, Duleek, and burial in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Maureen Forrest, Kilcock
Maureen Forrest, Calgath, Kilcock, who died on 13th February last, aged 86 at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, was actively involved in a number of groups in her area.
She was a member of the Seniors Helpline; Open Door Kilcock; and Third Age in Summerhill.
Maureen was an avid bowler who will be sadly missed by her team mates.
She also loved reading and was a great cook. Most of all, she was regarded as a great listener, and a reliable shoulder to cry on.
Deceased enjoyed travelling, especially going to Canada every year to visit her daughter and family. She spent her last Christmas and new year there, and during the visit was lucky to see the arrival of her fourth great grandson, Colton, and meet her third great grandson, Gavin, for the first time.
Daughter of the late John and Catherine O’Brien, she is survived by her husband, Christopher; daughter, Ruth; son, Graham; son-in-law, Gary; daughter-in-law, Joy; grandchildren, Sarah, Simon, Christopher and Kenneth; great grandchildren, Owen, Declan, Gavin and Colton; brother, Frank; brothers-in-law; sisters-in-law; nephews, nieces, and many friends in both Ireland and Canada.
The funeral Mass took place from St Coca’s Church, Kilcock to Mount Jerome Crematorium.
Katherine Scanlon, Beauparc
There was widespread sadness following the death on 15th December last of Katherine Scanlon, Dollardstown, Beauparc, peacefully at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, after a short illness.
Katherine, who was 94 years of age, was a native of Lispole, Dingle, Co Kerry. She was predeceased by her husband, John, and her granddaughter Deirdre.
Katherine and John moved with their family from Lispole to Beauparc in 1964 where they ran the family farm together for many years before their retirement.
In her later years she attended St Michael’s Loreto Day Centre where she made many good friends. She also enjoyed family outings and keeping in touch with her relatives all over the world.
She enjoyed good health and was able to live at home till the very end with the help of her excellent carers and her family.
Katherine is survived by her sons, Pete, Beauparc, and John, Skryne; daughters, Mary Griffin, Rathfeigh, Anne Feeney, Lucan, Kathleen, Clontarf, Josephine Donohue, Lucan; daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbours and friends.
Her funeral, in the Church of The Assumption, Beauparc, was concelebrated by Fr Peter Farrelly, Beauparc and Fr Thomas O’Mahony, Skryne. Her funeral Mass celebrated her long life and her love of the Mass.
She was buried afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. Her grandniece, Máiréad, sang the traditional Dingle song ‘Bá an Daingin’ at her graveside as a final farewell.
Ann Ayres, Clonard
The regretted death has occurred of Ann Ayres of Clonard, Enfield. She passed away on 5th February last in her home in Clonard, aged 80.
She is survived by her husband, Tony; sons, Patrick and Seamus Geraghty, both Donore; daughters, Linda Ryan, Muchwood, Ballivor and Deirdre Kelly, Ballivor; and step children John, Eileen, Geraldine, Anthony and Des Ayres. Her funeral took place on 9th February in Longwood.
Mary Barry, Harristown
There was great sadness following the peaceful death of Mary (May) Barry of Harristown, Navan, at Our Ladies Hospital, Navan on 7th January last, aged 68.
Deceased was a member of the Farrell family, Cannistown, Navan, and was predeceased by her husband, Paddy, in January 1994
Over the years, Mary developed a great interest in pitch and putt, in which she won many prizes, and in ballroom dancing. She enjoyed the simple pleasures in life and always made time for her family and friends. During her wake, people from all walks of life atteded and recalled their own particular stories about Mary.
She is survived by her sons, Paul, David and Declan; daughters-in-law, Sandra, Helen and Tracy; grandchildren; brothers and sisters; brother-in-laws and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.
Her funeral Mass took place in the Church of the Assumption, Beauparc, celebrated by Fr Peter Farrelly, followed by burial in St Mary’s Cemetery, Navan.