Remembering Patsy Sheehan

Patsy Sheehan was from Monastery, Enniskerry. She worked at the Wayside Cafe for Mrs Windsor for many years. Patsy was fostered from St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home with Frances Patterson at an early age by Bride Rafferty and they lived at 3 Shamrock Cottage in Monastery, Enniskerry. Patsy passed away on 15 July 2014 aged 81, and her daughter Anita recounts some of her memories, below.

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person is...do you know?

Patsy Sheehan who worked at the Wayside Cafe this photo was taken at the back of the cafe, I think it is with Joan Byrne but not sure who the other person is…do you know?

Mum loved to sit and chat with me every Sunday about her life in what was then a very rural place.

Patsy helped Bride by snaring rabbits which were sold to John Magee the village butcher for 1’6, she also pickled blackberries which were picked and sold, the money was always given to Bride.

It may surprise many to know that Patsy had a criminal record! At the age of 10 she had to go to court for chopping down trees in the Bog Meadow. She screamed the place down as she thought she was going to jail… she said that everyone did it as there was a war on and also the coal truck wouldn’t deliver up the hill where they lived!

Patsy loved talking about all the people who she knew and loved whilst growing up in this small Irish village. She attended St Mary & St Joseph’s School when Mr and Mrs Corcoran and Miss Smithers were the teachers and then she went on to the technical college in Bray. During the first year the headmaster asked if Patsy would like to work for a couple who lived next to the college as the wife had had an accident and needed help… she never went back to college. She was offered a summer job at the Wayside Cafe, she said it was a job with great perks… all you could eat and she got to stay over if she was on an early shift!

Patsy and Frances made many friends whilst growing up some of which were the Sutton Family, the Doran Family, Rosie McDonnell, Michael Kelly, the Barry Family.

At age 17 she was working full time in the cafe. She was also a help to many families in the village. She helped with Mrs McNulty’s children who’s husband was a barber in Bray, Garda McGrath’s wife, and she also helped the lady who ran the post office (she couldn’t remember her name). She also helped Mrs Dodd whose husband had a building yard in Bray and they apparently put the first cross on Bray Head! The most significant family was the Kirwan family. Michael, Vincent, Eugene, Collette and Rita all became Patsy’s close family and are still that today.

In the summer 1950 she met Hugh Patrick Gillen from Belfast who was on holiday in Enniskerry and they both shared a love of dancing. They courted for 2 years but then broke up. So in 1953 Patsy decided to go to England with her friend Tessy O’Neill and they lodged in Kingsland Crescent, Norris Green. She got a job in the Mecano and then went on to work in Plesseys. Hugh followed Patsy to England in 1954. They married in 1956 and lodged with Mrs Ashton in Brookside Avenue and in 1958 their first Son Paul Anthony Gillen was born.

In 1959 they bought their family home at Max Road. Following Paul’s birth Patsy and Hugh went on to have Moya Theresa, Kevin Gerard, Anita Rose, Eamonn John and Catherine Ann. Hugh worked at Lucas Aerospace Bowring Park, Liverpool for many years whilst raising their family and Pat had many local jobs. Sadly Hugh passed away suddenly at the age of 55 leaving Patsy and her children heartbroken. Both Patsy and Hugh worked hard all their life to provide a loving home, annual holidays back to Enniskerry when we all stayed with Michael Rafferty and to many caravan parks in North Wales and although they had 6 children of their own there was always more room for friends or family.

Patsy Sheehan 1

In 1992 Patsy met Billy Fitzpatrick and this led to a partnership that was to last for 22 years. Patsy and Billy visited Enniskerry many times to visit old friends and family.

My Mum never ever forgot where she was from and when we had our Sunday chats her passion for Enniskerry was obvious, this is why I would like to share her memories with you on your site.

Her wish was for her ashes to be brought back to Enniskerry and we will be doing this on 6th & 7th September 2014. Mum will be mentioned at the 7pm mass in the village on 6th September and we would be happy for anyone who knew her to join us at mass to celebrate her life.