Moll T Carey was a gift to the people of Kilbeggan
Mary Theresa (Moll T) Carey died on July 15 in Tullamore Hospital and she will never be forgotten in Kilbeggan.
She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart, who gave so much to the people. I had the pleasure of chatting to her a number of times in her house (with the dog!), as part of recording the history of Kilbeggan.
Her mother and Moll T worked many places from the national school, race committee, the hall, where she got many of her photos, etc. She had a huge collection of photos, documents, movie magazines etc., in her house, which had great information on the town. She loved photos and was proud that she managed to get autographs of the Aga Khan and beautiful actress Gene Tierney at Kilbeggan Races in May 1953. The Aga Khan won the 5.30 race at Kilbeggan on a horse called Ynys. Moll T also remembered meeting Noel Purcell in Tullamore and he gave her an autograph and said “thank you for recognising me”. Moll T mentioned that my grandfather Joe Hurley, lived on the hill beside the Careys, and when Moll T was born, he was the one who cycled up to get Nurse Dowling to attend her.
She mentioned neighbours like Anthony Trodden, Martin Craig etc., who were a great part of her life and how everyone pulled together along The Hill. She mentioned that her father James Carey was in the East Foot Regiment, and fought in India and South Africa between 191O-1914 after enlisting at age 18. He was discharged after 10 years in the army, where he lost a leg. Moll T had kept a number of beautiful postcards from France sent during the war, and she was on RTÉ TV showing them some years ago.
The houses on The Hill, where she lived, were uphill. There were cellars under the old soldiers' barracks on The Hill when they were there. This meant that some houses had an uphill door but they had to walk down, as they kept turf there. As she said, it was important to be “careful”.
She mentioned that there was a regular bonfire down at the nearby, Brosna River, when Kelly’s Trailer was dragged over to Keoghan’s house (window) and the St James’ Clubmen played music by the river for hours. She loved music, dancing, helping the community, and was part of many organisations like the very successful Young At Heart, which held regular meetings, and she was involved with the kids in the school etc.
I have a memory of when we were kids going to the Boys’ School. Mrs Carey had the half door on the hill and there was a parrot there in a cage. Three of us were going back to the Boys’ School and we went over to see the parrot over the half door, which was fun. One of the teachers reported us to Principal PT Jordan. We were called in and given a choice of six slaps (very common at that time) or to apologise to Mrs Carey. We took the option of going to Mrs Carey. Moll T and her mother brought us in and gave us an orange drink and biscuits, plus we were able to see the parrot. This was the kind of people they were.
Moll T in recent years was famous for her “scooter” speeding up the town to Mass and other events. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the street the day before she went into hospital for the last time. As usual she shot up to me on her “scooter” and said there was someone who wanted a copy of a photo, if possible, and would I be able to get a copy for her. Naturally, for Moll T, I dug out a few photos that evening for her and brought them down to her house the next morning, only to find that she had gone back to hospital. It was still nice to have spoken to her for the last time. She is already missed in the town.