The late Bríd Collins, Toberheena, and formerly Old Bridge, Clonmel
The late Bríd Collins, Toberaheena, Clonmel is remembered by family and friends as a woman of many talents, but first and foremost as a wonderful and caring wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Her death on July 19, 2022, leaves a huge void for her devoted family who remember her as the light of their lives, whose smile would light up a room.
But they are comforted by wonderful memories of her full and active life.
Her family meant everything to her and they always came first – her husband Jimmy, children Ger, Brídin, Eddie, Joe and Jim; grandchildren Gearóid, Grá, Eve, Jack, Aisling, Niamh, Joseph, Aedín, Colm, Eimear and Ruairí; and great grandchild Alana. Bríd was also a loving sister to Maura (Burke) and Greta (Hewitt).
Bríd’s talents in the home included baking and knitting while outside her home she was a talented singer and dancer, a gifted flower arranger; and a huge support to her husband Jimmy who is known throughout the county as a GAA administrator and former referee at club, divisional and county level.
Jimmy is a stalwart of his beloved St Mary’s GAA Club in Clonmel and Bríd was a huge supporter as well, and was often tasked with the job of washing the club jerseys, and the blue and white strip was a regular sight on her clothes line.
Jimmy and Bríd reared their family in Gortmalogue and later Toberaheena but Bríd was an Old Bridge woman at heart.
Bríd (née Power) was born at 26 Old Bridge, later lived for sometime at St Pius Terrace and even after she and Jimmy got married, they lived in Old Bridge for a number of years.
She loved the friendships developed there, the caring, village-like community and how families looked out for each other, and she carried those traits into her later life as wife and mother.
She also had many friends from her early years working in Munster Shoes and Currans.
Bríd was a talented homemaker for her family, with baking and knitting her specialities.
Christmas came early in the Collins’ home with Bríd starting to bake her cakes and puddings in November.
She would make up to ten or twelve and have them prepared in the sitting room for delivery to family throughout the country and some overseas.
Her children remember their mother as a quiet and reserved woman but they knew to make a hasty exit if they ever slammed the kitchen door and caused one of her cakes to collapse in the oven.
Bríd always ensured that her children were not only well-fed but also well-clothed.
She loved knitting and made most of their jumpers, cardigans and school hats and scarves herself.
Her real expertise was in knitting Aran sweaters and her children remember being told that they looked like the famed Clancy Brothers on more than one occasion.
Bríd loved nature and gardening but her green fingers didn’t just extend to her own beautiful garden but also further afield.
She was an accomplished flower arranger and worked with Anne Fitzpatrick in her florist show for many years, the two becoming great friends.
Bríd’s arrangements also won many prizes at the Clonmel Show.
Jimmy and Bríd loved visiting gardens throughout the country and she always liked to bring back a snippet of a favourite flower or plant to see would it flourish in her own garden.
Jimmy and Bríd were a devoted couple and loved travelling together. When Jimmy worked in Merck Sharp and Dohme, he spent some time in the United States and on one occasion Bríd travelled over and spent a wonderful three weeks travelling and meeting up with other Clonmel people living there.
GREAT DEVOTION TO OUR LADY
A religious woman with a great devotion to Our Lady, Bríd also loved to visit Lourdes and travelled to the shrine with her mother as well as on three occasions with Jimmy.
Bríd’s mother moved into Bríd and Jimmy’s home when she became unwell later in her life and Bríd cared for her with love and devotion in her final years.
Bríd was always very musical, as well as being an accomplished dancer. She loved to sing to herself around the house but in her younger days she took part in musical shows in the Regal Theatre, where tap dancing was one of her specialities. Jimmy often joined her on stage in the popular shows at the time that were promoted by John A Furlong.
Another shared interest for Bríd and Jimmy was collecting carnival glass, an orange-coloured antique glass with an iridescent surface.
They enjoyed looking for it together in antique shops and in car boot sales. They also travelled to England, going to antique shows and car boot sales there, and looking for the glass with Bríd’s sister and her husband.
As a lover of the outdoors, Bríd loved to cycle and was a regular sight around Clonmel doing her shopping, often with youngest child Jim on the carrier with her.
Unfortunately, the last ten years of Bríd’s life were not easy after she was diagnosed with dementia. She died in the Cottage Nursing Home but throughout most of her illness she was cared for in the familiar and comforting surroundings of her own home.
The family is extremely grateful to so many people who cared for Bríd over those years, including during the difficult years of the Covid lockdown when she and Jimmy were confined to their home.
They thank all the doctors, nurses, priests, carers, family, friends and neighbours for their care and kindness and who were always available to help.
And throughout all those difficult years, the one person who was always by her side, whose love and devotion helped to extend her life, was her husband Jimmy.
Despite the huge loss for Jimmy and all the family, they can look back on the wonderful times they shared with Bríd, and on her life well-lived.
Bríd is survived by her husband Jimmy; children Ger (Harrahill), Brídín (McAleer), Eddie, Joe and Jim; sisters Maura (Burke) and Greta (Hewitt), grandchildren Gearóid, Grá, Eve, Jack, Aisling, Niamh, Joseph, Aedín, Colm, Eimear and Ruairí, great- grandchild Alana, sons-in-law Gerard, Damien and Martin, sister-in-law Peggy, nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.
She was buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery following Requiem Mass in St Mary’s Church, Irishtown.
Written by Michael Heverin
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