Cork woman is reunited with mum's old diary, discovered at the bottom of a charity shop bag

When someone found an old diary at the end of a thrift shop bag, they were determined to reunite it with the owner. EMMA CONNOLLY caught up with the daughter of the woman who penned the diary
Cork woman is reunited with mum's old diary, discovered at the bottom of a charity shop bag

Maeve Dennehy with her mum, also Maeve.

CORK boutique owner Maeve Dennehy is a big believer in ‘signs’, from loved ones that have passed on - but nothing could have prepared her for the most recent one that came her way.

As the fifth anniversary of her mum’s death approached, Maeve unexpectedly found herself in receipt of a diary her mum had kept when she was just 22 years old.

The random way she got the diary, and the timing, has convinced the businesswoman that it is a message from her mum, also Maeve - that she is looking out for her.

The Facebook post, which led to the diary being reunited with Maeve's family.
The Facebook post, which led to the diary being reunited with Maeve's family.

It all happened just recently when her pal showed her a screen shot of a Facebook page that had been sent to her by someone else.

“It was from a page called ‘Old Photos of Cork City’. A woman had put up a picture of a diary from 1967, and inside the cover was written: ‘Maeve O’Flynn, John St’. She was trying to reunite the diary with the owner, or find out some information about it,” said Maeve, who runs Love Cherish in Charleville.

Maeve’s uncle had also spotted the image and so did a cousin of her mum’s and it resulted in the diary owner making contact with Maeve, and posting it to her.

“It turned out she had bought the bag in a charity shop last year, and just recently she took out a make-up insert inside, and discovered the diary lying underneath,” said Maeve.

The mum-of-two said the surprise delivery really made her smile, and feel even more connected to her mum.

“Reading it made me see the likeness in our personalities. The diary is a bit like me, there might be entries for three days and then it would stop for a few weeks!

“She was a real character and I can get a sense of that from her diary entries – it’s very entertaining! It gives me a great insight into what she was like as a young woman. She was just 22 at the time, and not married yet. She was working and living at home in Blackpool still.

“One entry read: ‘Got up at 7:30 and went to mass. Went to Opera House that night with my mother and father. Had a good night , looking forward to Shandon tomorrow night’,” said Maeve.

Mum and daughter. 
Mum and daughter. 

And the entire joyous episode, Maeve said, is a good example of the power of social media to do good.

“There is so much about negativity on social media, but this is proof of the positive side of it.

“It’s incredible – to think that someone went to the effort to post about it, then one person knew another, who knew another. It’s just lovely,” she said.


aeve is well known in Cork for her boutique and her own label called Oh Molly (named after her daughter), but also for raising an incredible €100,000 for Marymount University Hospital and Hospice.

The hospice holds a very special place in her heart because of the excellent care its staff gave her mother and sister before they both passed away.

Her beloved sister Karen spent six weeks in the hospice before she died, aged 39, in 2013.

Her mum was diagnosed just a few weeks later with a tumour on her sinuses and passed away in Marymount in 2018.

“Anyone who knows me knows I massively believe in signs, I know that I’m minded by my mum and sister and the timing of this is lovely. Most of the diary entries are in March which is extra nice too,” she said. Now, having got such joy from reading the diary, it’s a habit Maeve hopes to start herself, for the benefit of her own son and daughter.

“There’s a lot to be said for pen and paper, and it’s something I’m going to try to make time for in my own life,” said Maeve.

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