THE recent death of Mary ‘Mac’ O’Donoghue, nee Crowley – the oldest female resident of Cape Clear and one of its best-known characters – has left its mark on the wider island community.
Mary, who was a lively 92-year-old, suffered a short illness following an excursion to Cork city, from which she did not recover.
Mary enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the Middle Calf Island and in interview, last year, with The Southern Star – an article that was placed on her coffin during the funeral mass – she recalled nine fine decades of island life.
She lived in West Cork, North Cork, Cape Clear and England, before eventually returning to Cape Clear Island when she married.
Together with her husband, Michael ‘Mack’ O’Donoghue, she had two children, Mary Leonard and Michael, both of whom are also married and settled on the island.
Mary was very sociable and famous for her wit; her extraordinary knowledge of relations and friends, scattered around the globe; her memories; and her singing, which enlivened many an evening in the Club or Cotter’s.
Last Wednesday a previously planned early evening of poetry and music in Club Cléire became a poignant evening of tributes with some poems and songs chosen and performed in her honour. On the night everyone remembered her place in the corner, by the fire.
Mary chose to be buried in Schull and islanders travelled by sea, and, in passing by the island of her birth, the ferry made a short stop.