A FREELANCE writer took the creative approach of bringing Rosscarbery to her 90-year-old mother in Dublin.
Derval McCloat took to Twitter and asked her 2,200 followers for a special favour.
She asked them to tweet photos and videos of West Cork – but especially Rosscarbery – so that she could share them with her mother, Mary, who has been in hospital at the James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, since she suffered a fall in April.
Derval said that her mum, who celebrated her 90th birthday on March 2nd last, is critically ill and for that reason – as well as the Covid-19 restrictions – she cannot make one of her regular trips home.
Derval issued the appeal on Sunday and within days she was tweeting her ‘thank yous’, saying: ‘Your kindness is overwhelming. You made mum very happy. Her eyes lit up, and her smile says it all.’
She said a lot of the people who responded with sunny and seaside images of Rosscarbery were strangers, but that didn’t surprise her because ‘the people of West Cork are renowned for their generosity of spirit.’
Her mother – Mary O’Keeffe from Burgatia in Rosscarbery – developed dementia in recent years so to reconnect her with her ‘happy place’ mother and daughter travelled west as many as eight times a year.
In the 1950s, Mary left Rosscarbery for London, where she worked for Barclays International. She met and married Brendan McCloat – who is now 93 – and they returned to Ireland in the early 1970s.
Mary McCloat established a ladies’ boutique in Palmerstown and ran it very successfully until she was 78 years old.
According to Derval, her mum always had a great passion for clothes and was very good at putting outfits together, but it was her honesty with her customers that ensured the longevity of the business. They trusted her.
Her strength of character is also something that has endeared her to everyone at The Celtic Ross Hotel, where she stays whenever she is in West Cork.
Hotel manager Neil Grant took to Twitter to comment on one of their favoured guests, applauding her feisty and independent nature.
‘Intelligent, courageous, stoic,’ are three more words that Derval would use to describe her mum.