An 86-year-old Ballyshannon woman whose house burnt to the ground during the recent outbreaks of fires, wishes to thank all those who helped her in her time of need.
Ursula Stein and her late husband Manfred emigrated from their native Germany to Ireland 32 years ago. They settled in the midst of untouched forest land in Doobally. Although they did not have any experience in agriculture or gardening, with a lot of perseverance and patience they nearly became self-sufficient.
At first, the locals were a bit sceptical about “the crazy Germans” as they were called.
But as more and more people came to their warm hospitality in their Canadian-type wooden home, they were won over. Not least by Ursula’s famous cooking and baking!
When Manfred suddenly died 15 years ago, it was clear for Ursula that she would stay near her helpful neighbours in her beloved Doobally.
Taking care of the vegetable garden became more and more demanding, so she devoted all her energy to her flowers around and in the house. She loved her independence and in this beautiful rural area outside Ballyshannon. Helpful neighbours and friends made her independent life possible.
Then, all of a sudden, on May 1, everthing was taken away from Ursula. Her house was totally burnt down to the ground and the cottage completely destroyed. Ursula’s thoughtful next-door neighbour, Patricia Gallagher, literally rescued her in the last minute, and all that was left to her was what she was wearing. She faces a new life with no material momentos.
For the moment, Ursula stays at her son’s in Germany. This allows her to get some distance between the traumatic events of the beginning of May and her new life. It allows her to gather energy for a new chapter in her life.
“My roots are in Ballyshannon and with the kind and helpful residents of the Knather!” she said before she left for Germany. Her declaration lets us hope she’ll be back soon, because we miss her a lot. Coming back will require much courage and determination – but these are things she had to use many times before in her life.
On behalf of Ursula Stein and her family, we’d like to thank the numerous people for their sympathy and love as well as their spontaneous help. We also thank the authorities for their unbureaucratic help and support in these difficult times. Simply a warm and deeply-felt thank you to the neighbours and the Knather And Surrounding areas Residents Asociation (KASRA), to all the friends and to known and unknown fellow people. The signs of overwhelming involvement have many faces. This will help Ursula in her new beginning.