by Eddie Cantwell
Early in October I was contacted by Donal O’ Connell. He was researching his mother’s people who came from Abbeyside. His mothers name was Mary Elstead. I had carried out some research on the Elstead family for my book ‘The Way It Was’ some years previous. During my research, I discovered a poem in the Abbeyside Reference Archive which was written by Nell Daly and titled ‘Mary Elstead’s wedding’. The poem was featured in the book, but I was at a loss to know who the poem was dedicated to. The picture created in the poem did not seem to fit any of the local Elstead family. The mystery was soon to be unravelled!
(The above photo of Mary’s wedding features well known locals, the bride & groom are easily identified, also present are Nell Daly; front left , the man with the cap is John O’Connell’s father. We have made a stab at some of the others but perhaps if readers contact us with names, that would be much appreciated)
Donal and I corresponded for a period and it was not long before Donal arrived on my door step, he was accompanied by a friend of Italian extraction named Manlio Reina.Both were very impressed with Abbeyside and the town of
Donal with Seamus O’Brien.
Prior to Donal and Manlio’s arrival, I had spoken with the
Mary Elstead married John O’Connell. The couple had the following children; Ann, Noreen, Donal and Nicola.
Mary O’Connell nee Elstead died in 2000. Donal’s father, John died back in 1971.
Donal’s three sisters live in Kerry. Both Donal and his sister Nicola are Architects. Donal lives in
Mary Elstead’s wedding is a lovely piece of work; it records a wonderful day in the life of a young married couple. It will bring back many memories to the people who remember the occasion. It also brings to life the wonderful characters from the Village that made the event such a joyful occasion. It’s a great pity that others like Nell Daly did not put pen to paper and record such events for posterity…Enjoy!
Eddie Cantwell Dec 2006.
Mary Elsteads Is Wedding.
On the morning of June 27th
With the sun shining gloriously on
We all gathered down at the Abbey
For the wedding of Mary and John.
Oh! I tell you the groom had us worried
I’m afraid that he misjudged the time
When we thought we could stand it no longer
He arrived with my partner in crime
Jolla Whelan was coughing that morning
In the church he made both of us laugh
I hope I’m around when he marries
I assure you I’ll get my own back
And then when the wedding was over
Happy that all had gone well
We proceeded across to Dungarvan
For a hooley at Kelly’s Hotel.
To dear Fathers Walshe and O’Regan
A welcome we all did extend
We know that their presence amongst us
Added joy to the party did lend
Benny Honan was there from
From the land of the Stars and the Stripes
And we all gave a Cead Mìle faílte
To himself and his bonny new bride.
We were all very pleased to see Ollie
Looking so fit and so well
And we know that the time, It was jolly
That we spent there in Kelly’s Hotel
Seamus Crotty we were happy to see there
We would not be there without him
For no celebration or party
Is complete without Abbeyside Jim.
We had Greta from Abbeyside choir
You could see she was timid not- bold
John O’Shea gave the day in the window
How I wish that, that doggy was sold
Very soon, we had Lovey amongst us
The yellow rose of
Mike Daly brought in his melodeon
And the music did merrily ring.
And then when the party got going
Singing and dancing had we
And for keeping the dances in order
We had capable Willie. M.C.
There were some in the party that morning
Who were natives of sweet Skibereeen.
One from the
And a number from Cahirciveen
Through many long hours we made merry
We’ll always remember the day
When the people from far - away Kerry
Met the people from Dungarvan bay
At the end of the Day’s celebrations
Poor Lovey was minus his cap
‘Twas to small for the head it came home on
So I hope it has been given back.
Now I’ve come to the end of my story
There’s nothing more I have to say
But I hope when the season re-opens
The Rossmire will be first at the Quay.