On 2nd September 2008 Jean Taylor’s ashes were laid to rest in Kilcummin cemetery. Jean would have loved to have been present – it was the sort of occasion she would have approved of and enjoyed! The graveside service was simple but moving. Anthony Previte and Fr Jimmy Walsh officiated. The readings included a beautiful poem by John O’Donohue.
In attendance were family members (Fran, Nicky, Tim and Kate) and her many dear friends from Oughterard and Dublin. The weather was reasonably kind and there was even a glimmer of sunshine as we looked from the graveside towards the Corrib – this was the place where she spent her happiest days with her husband, John.
Jean was born in Swanage, Dorset to Dorothy and William Bradley. She qualified as a nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London where she worked during the Blitz. Towards the end of the war she joined the Red Cross and followed the relieving armies into northern Europe. After the war she continued her nursing career in Montana, Switzerland where she worked in a sanatorium caring for TB sufferers. One of her patients was John Taylor.
Jean and John married in 1950 and they set up home in Pembroke Road, Dublin where Jean continued to nurse and John worked in the tea trade. Fran and Nicky were born in Dublin, and it was during this time they began their long and happy association with the people of Oughterard. The Mons family (Michael John, Patrick, Christina and Mary Kate) of Drimnakill were John’s cousins. John’s mother, Delia Houlahan, had been born above what is now Finnerty’s butcher’s shop. Her mother (John’s grandmother), Margaret, was born a Mons and lived at Drimnakill.
The Taylor family moved to England in 1955, first to Tankerton, Kent where John’s parents had settled, and then to Sevenoaks where they lived for the rest of their married life and brought up “the girls”.
Do a little fishing
In 1980, following the death of Mary Kate Mons, John inherited Drimnakill. This was the start of some of the happiest days of Jean and John’s lives together. They would spend about half the year at Drimnakill. Jean adored gardening and set about creating a flower, fruit and vegetable garden with much vigour and determination. John was more a hedges and lawns man. He relished the peace and quiet of the place where he could listen to classical music and to the commentary of the cricket test matches on the radio, and do a little fishing. He also enjoyed the occasional glass of Guinness. They began accumulating donkeys who played their part in keeping the place under control, as well as entertaining Jean and John and their many visitors.
In October 1997 John died in Sevenoaks after a short illness. In April 1998 his ashes were laid to rest in Oughterard, in his grandmother’s grave. After John’s death, Fran and Nicky took over Drimnakill, and Jean continued to visit, but these trips became fewer as she became increasingly frail.
Eventually in 2006, after a number of spells in hospital, Jean moved away from Sevenoaks to live in a nursing home in the same village as Nicky near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. She had been there just a year when she was dislodged by the severe flooding of July 2007. She then took up temporary residence at a nursing home in a nearby village, while her own home was being renovated. It was while there that she developed pneumonia and died peacefully in her sleep on 9th January 2008, at the age of 88.
The committal of her ashes, alongside John’s, took place on the 58th anniversary of their wedding.
Fran and Nicky would like to take this opportunity to thank our many friends in Oughterard and Dublin, especially Michael and Patricia McGauley, for all the help and support that they have given to our parents and to us over the years, and particularly with the preparations for the committal. Fran’s partner, Roger, has set up a website in memory of Jean at www.isoftinc.com/jeantaylor. Here you’ll find some of our favourite photographs and memories of Mum.