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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Carlow Nationalist — Paddy and Josie will be fondly remembered by the local community in Tankardstown

Paddy and Josie Nolan


JOSIE Nolan (née Townsend), Tankardstown, Tullow, Co Carlow passed away on 15 January aged 89 years. Josie was predeceased by her husband Paddy, who died on 18 May 2022 aged 92.

Josie and Paddy shared a long, happy, healthy married life together for 53 years. They had one son, Tom, and their passing marks the end of an era in the local community.

Born on 4 September 1934 in Ballypierce, Kildavin to James and Catherine (née Dowling) Townsend, Josie was the elder sister of Bridie.

Paddy was born in Rathlyon, Tullow on 16 October 1929 to Thomas and Ellen (née Byrne). Paddy was the second eldest in a family of seven. Kitty, Margaret, John, Mary, Ita and Annie completed their family.

Josie’s early years were spent farming at home, raising cows and sheep and growing corn. She began her nursing career in St Dympna’s Hospital, Carlow and there are many photo albums and stories of her colleagues and friends to capture this part of her life.

Paddy’s early years were spent farming at home in Rathlyon. He spent his spare time participating in cross-country running, playing GAA with St Mary’s and going to the cinema in Tullow. He was a regular figure at Tankardstown crossroads, where he chatted with neighbours.

As was similar with Paddy, Josie was waked at their home in Tankardstown, where Fr Brian Maguire, PP, led the prayers.

At Josie’s requiem Mass, symbols of her life were brought to the altar by her four grandchildren. Grace brought up a photo of her nana and her nursing colleagues in St Dympna’s. John brought up Josie’s glasses, testimony to her book-keeping skills. Paddy brought up a photo of on one of her many holidays, while Harry brought up Josie’s Tullow Show life membership badge.

Readings were by her granddaughter Grace and daughter-in-law Lisa, while Prayers of the Faithful were recited by grandsons Harry, Paddy and John.

The offertory gifts were brought forward by her sister Bridie and son Tom. At Paddy’s funeral Mass, symbols of his life were also brought up by his four grandchildren. Grace brought up a sheep to signify his love of farming, John brought up a deck of cards to symbolise his love of 25s, Paddy brought up a Massey Ferguson tractor and Harry brought up his cap, which he wore everywhere. The offertory gifts were brought forward by Emma Kelly and Anne Francis. Readings at Paddy’s Mass were by his niece Olivia and nephew Thomas. Prayers of the Faithful were read by Tom Deering, Gavan Frayne, Ger Rooney, Caroline Moody, Eamonn Healy and Harry and Tom Eustace.

Paddy’s remains were carried by Tom, Harry, Paddy, James McGrath, Micheal Doyle and John Nolan.

Tom delivered a broad narrative of the life and times of Josie and Paddy at both of their funeral Masses.

“Josie met Paddy Nolan, the love of her life, at the highlight of the social calendar – the Tullow Show dance. Romance blossomed, they got married in 1969 and lived in Pairc Mhuire for a few years before moving out to their dream home in Tankardstown.

Mam had to leave here nursing career behind, as per the rules of the time, and with Paddy built up their farm and agricultural contracting business. Josie was the driving force with her book-keeping skills, keeping the men fed and the bank happy.

Paddy’s trademark was his laidback nature – never under pressure, whatever the weather or the situation! He always kept his word, would give away a job if he couldn’t make it and was a great organiser. Everyone who worked for Paddy and Josie said they were very generous. Massey Ferguson tractors and the 4L van were part of the fleet.

Josie and Paddy loved to travel. They enjoyed many trips with the Nolan in-laws, ferries to Pembroke, summer trips to Courtown and further afield, with holidays to Portugal, Turkey and Lake Garda among the most memorable.

During the year, there were always visits to the Nolan in-laws in Mount Aaron, the Eustaces in Castlemore, Brennans in Herondale, McGraths in Killerig, Healys in Crosslow and Moodys in Kinneagh. All of these outings were followed with a game of 25s.

Tullow Show was also a major event of the year, with Josie helping out in the field before the event, on the day and in the following days. Her work continued by getting involved on the committee, holding down numerous positions. She proudly fulfilled the role of Tullow Show president for three years. Paddy was not to let the side down either, bringing home rosettes for his prize-winning sheep on numerous occasions.

The many kind messages of support offered to Tom and Bridie bore testimony to how well regarded Josie and Paddy were in the local community.

‘End of an era. At peace with Paddy. Straight talker. Lovely lady. She is up there looking down on you all with the chief.’ ‘Friendly. Welcoming. Ahead of his time. Absolute gentleman. Straight. Decent. Generous. Laughter. Modest. Big smile. Gentle. Great character. Great neighbour. Very fulfilled life. Bold sense of humour.’

Tom continued: “We are here to celebrate a great long life, but also with great sadness. When Dad passed, it left a huge void in Mam’s life. As much as she tried, it was obvious that life was difficult to continue without her soulmate. Her physical condition deteriorated, but her mind remained 100% until her final breath.  The loss of her sister-in-law and great friend Mary Healy a few months ago didn’t help. Thanks to all her great friends and neighbours who called to see her since Dad died and to everyone who attended her wake.
Thanks to Dr Nolan and her team, public health nurses and many carers, the staff of Naas Curragh Ward, Archers Rath Convalescence, St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny and Tullow Day Care Centre.

Tom also mentioned that if there was an award for the kindest, most caring sister in the world, then Bridie would surely win it. “Every weekend without fail, Bridie would leave her own life behind and come up to stay in Tankardstown with Mam. There is no more you could have done.

“Finally, thanks to Fr Maguire and Fr Fleming for all the support and all the help we received inside and outside with neighbours and friends to organise the wake. I am truly humbled by the kindness shown to us this past while by both young and old.”

Tom’s eulogy concluded: “I know Mam and Dad are now back together. Until next time …”

Following Mass, Josie’s remains were carried by Tom, Lisa, Harry, Paddy, John and Grace. Josie was laid to rest with Paddy in the local St Patrick’s Cemetery, with Fr Maguire reciting the final prayers at the graveside.

Josie and Paddy are survived by their son Tom, sister Bridie, daughter-in-law Lisa, sisters-in-law Annie and Teresa, grandchildren Harry, Paddy, John and Grace, nephews, nieces, neighbours, relatives and many friends.

The Month’s Mind Mass for Josie Nolan will be celebrated on Sunday 18 February at 11am Mass in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Tullow.

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