Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tribute to Mrs Nano Harte RIP, Ballynacarriga, Kildimo, Co Limerick 1913 / 2009

The death occurred of Mrs Nano Harte (nee Fitzgerald) in the Mid-Western Hospital, Dooradoyle, following a short illness, on February 13, 2009. The late Nano was born in the adjoining townland of Mellon, on September 5, 1913. Of the twelve children born to Michael and Mary Fitzgerald (nee White), she was the last survivor of four girls and eight boys, namely, Mary, Annie, Ellie, Con, Mick, Pat, Ned, Jim, Willie, Jackie and Tom. This large family were involved in fishing as part of their living, and it was not uncommon at the time to row their boat over to what was then a little pub in Cratloe- ‘Durty Nelly’s’. Nano recounted with some trepidation the return journey when the boatmen might not be too dry. Many of the Fitzgerald neighbours at this time were involved in river craft, whether harvesting reed or fishing, and friendships were made with their fellows from the Clare side of the Shannon.

All her education took place under Master Stephen Moore in Ballynacarriga old School and like the majority of her school friends; she went to work in her early teens. Her first job was in Wallace’s in Patrick Street but the pull of the country proved too strong to resist. At this time, women were the preferred option for milking by hand and Nano when milking was over, processed the cream to the stage of final butter making on the farm of Bob Smith in Stonehall House, in the old village of Stonehall. While working in the household of Guard Hurley in Pallaskenry she met the young man who was to become her husband, namely, Willie Harte from Askeaton. They were married by Fr. Fitzgerald in the Parish Church of Kilcornan on November 16 in 1937, following, which they returned to their daily chores.

After a period in rented accommodation, the young couple settled in Ballynacarriga, a stone’s throw from where Nano had been educated. The skills she had learned at work were now put to good use at her own home where she took great pride in rearing ducks and chickens and fattening calves and pigs. She would proclaim that her long life was partly due to the home-cured bacon they produced along with traditional cabbage and potatoes. ‘Hard work’ was the other ingredient that kept her from ever-visiting doctor or hospital until the last days of her healthy life. Up to those final days, her concern was with her chickens and ducks and her dog. She was a great believer in the natural herbal remedies close at hand and she made many a poultice for the treatment of infections. Three children were born to Willie and Nano, namely, Patsy, Michael and Mary. As Willie and her two sons were avid hurlers, Nano was also a follower of the game and she was a proud spectator at the City Final Replay of 1958, where she cheered her husband and two sons to victory over Ballybrown. Apart from one trip to Lourdes, she never left these shores, a characteristic shared by all her family who settled locally, with the exception of her brother Con who settled in Donabate Co. Dublin.

Nano took a great interest in the lives of her grandchildren when she indulged them in a ritual Sunday morning of home-cooked soup and her own baking. She was to live to see the arrival of great-grandchildren and even a great great grandchild. While her passing caused profound sorrow to Willie and all her family and extended family, they also are aware that her long life was blessed by good health and so their sorrow was tempered by thankfulness and the remembrance of their long and happy association with Nano.

Following Requiem Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kildimo on Sunday February 15th 2009, her remains were interred in Kilcornan Cemetery.

Beannacht Dé lena h-anam.

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