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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Mrs. Mary Malone (nee Bolton)


Death of Mrs Mary Malone.

Obituary of Mrs Mary Malone, followed by Appreciation, published in The Nationalist and Leinster Times, February 1997.

The late Mrs. Mary Malone

The Cumann na mBan Republican Flag, the only one of its kind, was used for the final time at the funeral last weekend of the last surviving member of the Carlow / Laois Branch of Cumann na mBan.

The flag was used to drape the coffin of Mrs Mary Malone, formerly of St. Killian's Crescent, Carlow, who died at the home of her daughter in Clonmel on Thursday, 6th February at the age of 98 years.

Mrs Malone (nee Bolton of Keelogue, Killeshin) was born in 1899 into a staunchly republican family. Her brothers, Bill and Dan Bolton, were interned for their military activities during The Troubles.

In 1914 as nationalist Ireland prepared for war against British rule, Cumann na mBan (the Women's Army) was formed, Mary Bolton was one of the first women in the Killeshin area to join.

As a member of Cumann na mBan she served as a courier for the Laois / Carlow Division of the Irish Republican Army during the 1920s. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, Mary took the anti-Treaty side and throughout her long life remained true to her republican beliefs.

Educated at Killeshin National School, it was there that she met her future husband, John Malone, who was an active member of the Irish National Volunteers. The couple married in 1928 following which John took up an appointment as head attendant at St. Dympna's Hospital, Carlow. John died in 1986 at the age of 92.
Sgt. Charlie Parsons of the Band of the Curragh Command sounds the Last Post over the Cumann na mBan Republican Flag draping the coffin of Mary Malone (nee Bolton). Also in the picture are Councillor Walter Lacey, Chairman of Carlow County Council, Councillor Jimmy 'Teraza' Murnane and Councillor Joe McDonald.

The headstone inscription reads:

In Loving Memory of
John Malone
21 St. Killian's Crescent
Born 21st Feb. 1894
Died 23rd May. 1986
Rest in Peace

Source: Michael Purcell 2010

Her remains were removed from Clonmel for burial to the Holy Cross Church, Killeshin. The Last Post was sounded by Sergeant Charlie Parsons of The Curragh Command. At Mrs Malone's own request the Irish Army did not provide a firing party to shoot over the grave.

The Cumann na mBan Republican Flag was released for the funeral by special arrangement with the Kilmainham Jail Museum. It was donated to the museum in 1995 with the proviso that it would be required at a later stage for a funeral tribute to Mrs Malone.

The flag has strong Carlow connections, having been made in Kilmainham Jail by women from Carlow during their interment there in 1923. Since that time it has draped the coffins of republicans.

In a tribute at the graveside in Killeshin Mrs Malone's son, Henry, recalled that members of the local Cumann na mBan had added a stitch to the famous flag, thereby it could be said that all members of the local Cumann, including his own mother although she had not been imprisoned, had a role in the making of it.

Mr. Malone also recalled the important role of women in the fight for freedom and in the formation of the new Free State." Their input is sometimes overlooked" he said " but should be placed in perspective and valued by future historians. Without their standing shoulder to shoulder with the men of Ireland we would not be enjoying the fruits of freedom and justice today".

Mrs. Malone is survived by her sons , Thomas and Henry (USA), daughters, Marita and Bernadette (USA), Brid and Eilish (Clonmel).

Source: Michael Purcell 2010

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2001 Ireland Genealogy Projects, IGP TM