On the 15th of August 1947 my granny Annie Boyle from Loughanure died from leukemia aged just 45 years. Annie born in Mullaghduff was the eldest daughter of Paddy Johndy and Biddy Sharkey.

Annie Sharkey later Boyle in Great Yarmouth in the 1920s

She moved to Loughanure after her marriage to Dinny Boyle. Dinny and Annie got sick around the same time, Annie got leukemia and Dinny was struck down with tuberculosis. He was confined to bed for seven years. During this time, their five little children were cared for by their aunts and uncles.

Dinny and Annie and their children just before illness struck

Dinny feared that Annie wouldn’t make it and his children would be taken to Mullaghduff to be cared for by his wife’s family.

1-Mary Pat, Ellen Maire Rua Greene, Kathleen, Maureen and Bridget (2)
The eldest children say their last goodbyes to their mother Annie  Copyright Jimmy Duffy

The following lament was written by Dinny where he expresses his fears that were to become a reality on an autumn day in ’47.


(Air: Is fada mo cosa gan broga) 

This morning at dawn I was dreaming

Of an evening so long long ago

When I and my Nancy sat talking

And the fields were all covered in snow


I thought that I saw her beside me

All dressed in her velvet coatee

Her eyes in their sockets were beaming

As she looked up so loving at me


Then we sat there and talked of the future

And wondering what it had in store

For us and our five children

That were romping about on the floor


Then I saw what the future did bring us

And the tears they did stream down my cheeks

When I saw my true-love on her sick-bed

And her life in the balance for weeks


How I prayed for my love to recover

How I nursed her with grief in my heart

A grief that left me broken-hearted

And will till this I depart


Then I awoke from my fanciful dreaming

With a mighty big load on my mind

When I thought of my own sad affliction

And that I to my bed was confined


I thought of my dear little children

Of the dangers they may undergo

And I wish that I only could guide them

But alas cruel fate’s saying no


So farewell to my dear little children

To my Nancy so faithful and kind

Many years I would like to be with them

But ma bron I must leave them behind

Composed by Denis Boyle (Dinny Chondaí) Loughanure

(Dinny Chondy)