A Cork woman is on cloud nine this month after her two greatest wishes have been fulfilled.
Mary McCarthy, known widely as 'Mary Mac', got the surprise of a lifetime ahead of her 89th birthday last week when a convoy of motorcycles, led by her son Finbarr, showed up outside her house in Churchfield to whisk her off on a special outing.
Mary, an avid shopper in the English Market was being taken to the Market where, unbeknownst to her, some of the stallholders had arranged a small celebration in Mary’s honour.
Speaking to, Finbarr said one of Mary’s greatest wishes has been to get a spin on the back of his motorbike.
"It was an ongoing thing," he laughed.
"Every now and then she'd say 'I won’t be happy until I get a spin on the back of your motorbike!'
"Of course it’s always laughed off and I’m always using the excuse that I don’t have a helmet for her but I thought it would be a nice thing and something different to do for her birthday," Finbarr said.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect as Mary, a stalwart Liverpool supporter, was already on a high after the team’s epic victory in the Premier League.
The Reds mathematically won the Premier League last month but lifted the trophy inside an empty stadium on Wednesday after their 31st victory of the season.
"Her two things were a spin on the motorbike and to see Liverpool lift the Premier League Trophy so she had a good week in that sense," Finbarr said.
Arriving in style to the English Market, Mary was greeted by some of the stallholders from her favourite stalls, Declan O’Flynn from O'Flynn's Gourmet Sausage Company, Sheila Fitzpatrick from the Alternative Bread Company (ABC), Kathleen Noonan of Noonan Butchers and Paul Coughlan from P Coughlan Butchers.
Mary would have regularly visited the Market but had not been able to in a long time due to the pandemic.
"She loves the English Market. I often take her in on a Saturday but she hadn’t been for a while because of Covid-19," Finbarr explained.
"The stallholders presented her with a bouquet of flowers which was lovely.
"They had a card for her and a few tasty bits as well for her. She said she felt like the Queen!"
By all accounts, Mary was "totally amazed" by the reception she got in the Market and was completely unsuspecting of the birthday surprise.
Fortunately, Mary’s priceless reaction was caught on film by talented content creator, Fionn Mulvey, a friend of Finbarr’s son.
"It was great to have Fionn on board. He did an absolutely fantastic job.
"The photos are fantastic and the video is just phenomenal," Finbarr said, adding that they are "precious memories to have".