Tributes paid to 'First Lady of Barrack Street and the South Parish' 

Tributes paid to 'First Lady of Barrack Street and the South Parish' 

Mary McGrath, pictured with Councillor Mick Finn, was a popular figure in Barrack Street and in Ballyphehane where she boasted many friends and neighbours.

TRIBUTES have been paid to the late Mary McGrath, described as the first lady of South Parish, who passed away just weeks before her 105th birthday.

Ms McGrath, who was born on April 24, 1916 – the day the Easter Rising began – passed away on April 5.

Ms McGrath was a popular figure in Barrack Street and in Ballyphehane where she had many friends and neighbours.

Former Lord Mayor of Cork City and local Councillor Mick Finn (Ind) said:

“Mary was the First Lady of Barrack Street and the South Parish and in later years was also a popular member of the community in Ballyphehane where she attended the Day Centre.

“She was loved by everyone, especially her neighbours who were brilliant to her.

“What a life she had - to survive to 104 she had to be young at heart,” he added.

“The secret to longevity, she once told me, was not to get married. She was also the face of lifelong learning in Cork and was on Zoom calls during the Covid pandemic having also lived through the Spanish Flu. A Cork legend has passed and she will be sadly missed but always celebrated.”

Supported by her family, neighbours and friends, Ms McGrath had lived independently in her home on Barrack Street before taking a fall at Christmas time which landed her in hospital where she contracted Covid-19.

After recovering from Covid, she was cared for by the staff at Bishopscourt Nursing Home.

Last year, Ms McGrath celebrated her 104th birthday weeks into the pandemic at a physically distanced party outside her home.

That celebration was organised by Ms McGrath’s friends at South Parish Old Folks Club, by family members and by Ballyphehane Day Care and Ballyphehane/Togher Community Development Programme.

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