CORK’S oldest landlady has been remembered as a “wonderful lady who lived life to the full” following her passing.
Maura Hallinan, who opened the KLM Bar on the Lower Glanmire Road with her late husband Denis in 1968, passed away peacefully at her home, in the presence of her family on Tuesday.
She died at the age of 101.
Maura is survived by her four daughters Frances, Cathy, Lydia and Mary.
Born on June 8, 1919, Ballincollig native Maura was one of two girls in a family of 10 children.
Maura met the man who would be her husband, Denis Ferdinand Hallinan, known as Ferdie, at what then passed for the “ballroom of romance”, the Curraheen Platform and they were married in 1939 in Ballincollig, in the same church Maura had been baptised, received her first communion and confirmation.
The couple had four girls and two boys. Tragically, the boys, Denis and Finbarr, died in infancy.
After living in England for a period, the couple returned home to Cork and set up the KLM Bar in 1968, named for their daughters.
Trained by Guinness to pull the perfect pint, it was only in recent times that Maura stopped working in the bar after more than five decades.
Speaking to The Echo last year following her 100th birthday, her love for the job was apparent.
“I loved bar work. I loved the company. You were never lonely serving and meeting people in the bar.
“I met lovely people here down through the years.
“A lot of the old-time customers kept in touch, writing to me for my 100th birthday.
“The train drivers who stayed in Cork overnight were always great customers here. I got sent birthday cards from their wives.
“Often, of an evening, a sing-song would start in the bar with the Dubliners and the Cork lads competing with them, making for a mighty session altogether,” she said.
With the sudden passing of her beloved husband in 1977, Maura alone was left to run the KLM Bar.
Despite the devastating blow she persevered, ensuring the bar remained open and a great success.
The landmark bar is now managed by Maura’s daughter, Mary and her husband, Fred.
One of Maura’s grandchildren Steven Hackett, owner of Nana’s on Douglas Street, named after his beloved grandmother, spoke about Maura’s incredulous reaction when she found out the pub was going to be named in her honour.
“‘You’re joking’, she said ‘you are not!’ with a big smile on her face, ‘don’t be so stupid’ she said as her eyes lit up.”
Alongside business and family, Maura was a big believer in community participation and spent many years as Treasurer of the Southern Branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, a charity very close to the heart of all of her family.
On her 101st birthday this summer, Maura received a Presidential Medal from Michael D Higgins, marking the auspicious occasion.
The Lord Mayor of Cork, councillor Joe Kavanagh paid tribute to Maura who he described as a “wonderful lady who lived life to the full”.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Maura on her 100th birthday last year. She was so full of life, fun and positivity.
“As well as being so well known and respected in the local community on Lower Glanmire Road, she was treasured by her family and of course she will be sadly missed.”