Death of Molly 'Tom' Gallagher, age 104
by sue doherty
Ardara's oldest citizen, and one of life's great ladies, has passed on. Molly ‘Tom' Gallagher, Wooden Bridge passed away on Thursday last aged 104. Stephen McCahill paid tribute yesterday to "an exceptional person in every way".
He added: "Molly Tom was lovely lady to visit. We'll miss her terribly, because she was always a person for such wonderful stories.
"She had a great sense of history and knew all the stories of long ago and the stories of all the local families. She was great to chat with and was always a person who told it as she saw it.
"Her birthday parties on July 4 every year were famous. Molly's house is at a lovely little setting where the river enters the sea. People came from far and wide to wish her Happy Birthday, which she duly took in her stride. The house was fill with visitors, as was the garden, where there was always a canopy. There was always lots of music and a great sense of celebration, they were great occasions.
"Molly was totally alert and focused to the end, so clear in her mind, right until she slipped away peacefully last Thursday."
At a packed funeral mass in the Church of the Holy Family last Saturday morning, Canon Lafferty said of Molly: "There are waves and there are waves and then there are bigger waves that go a bit further. She was one of those bigger waves, with her full, long life. And then she slipped back out to sea again, her life and legacy broke up to into thousands of smaller waves and rippled through all the lives she touched."
Molly Tom had a very long life, coming from a family, the Boyles of Tullycleave, where longevity is not uncommon. Her father John lived to over 100 and her sister Rose Agnes Slowey, who is over 100, attended Molly's funeral on Saturday.
She married very young, to Tom Gallagher, who was one of Donegal's most famous footballers, one of the first to play at Croke Park. The couple had a large family of three boys - Frank, Niall and Phonsie (deceased) - and four girls - Rosaleen, Marie, Nancy and Kathleen, who was President of the Donegal Association in Dublin for many years. Tom predeceased Molly many years ago.
Molly had more than 88 grandchildren, who have made their mark far and wide. Locally, her grandchilddren include Paul & Mary B, famous musicians, who built a house near Molly's home at Wooden Bridge and Jodie Gallagher, also a famous musician and a composer who lives in Donegal town
Molly was always a great friend of Martin McGuinness who visited her or sent her wishes on her birthday and attended her removal on Saturday morning.
Stephen McCahill said "I'm sure everyone in the parish would join me in acknowleding the wonderful way in which Molly's daughters Nancy and Kathleen, her granddaughter Gwen and Anne and Rosaleen from the Home Help Service looked after Molly in recent years. No doubt they helped prolong her life to such a great age."