Anne (Nancy) Doyle obituary: A kind mother with a strong faith

Lives Lost to Covid-19: ‘She was an amazing listener, you could tell her anything’

Anne (Nancy) Doyle

Anne (Nancy) Doyle


This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email

Anne (Nancy) Doyle


Nancy Doyle was a loving, loyal and kind mother and grandmother who had a wide circle of friends and was highly regarded in her local Rathfarnham community.

Born Nancy Egan in Loughnavalley in Co Westmeath in 1927, she had one older sister (Maureen) and one younger brother (Michael). She moved to Dublin in her early 20s where she worked as a housekeeper in a priest’s home. “She was the original Mrs Doyle,” remembers her granddaughter Anne fondly.

She left her job after she married Peter Doyle in 1956 and the couple settled in Rathfarnham, first in Willbrook and then on the Ballyboden road. They had three children - Patrick, Mary and Orla.

Nancy was a gentle and loyal person and cherished the friendships she built in the local area. She took great pride in her garden and loved the outdoors. The family never had a car and walked and cycled around the city.

“I remember she once told me she’d cycled out to Howth and back, that wouldn’t be a bother to her,” said Anne, who is named after her grandmother. “They had no need for a car and lived a healthy lifestyle.”

She loved to bake and cook and always had fresh brown bread or scones ready for visitors. “She was an amazing listener, you could tell her anything. There were always people coming and going in her home.”

Faith was a huge part of Nancy’s life and she was a daily mass goer in the Rathfarnham parish for more than 50 years. “She tried to live her life as a good Christian and her values and morals were very much informed by the teachings of the church.”

In recent years, following the death of her sister Maureen, she became very close with her niece Marion. When Nancy moved into the Marymount Care Centre Marion would visit her every week and the pair became close.

Anne was also close with her grandmother and recalls how she could speak openly with Nancy, even as a wild teenager. “She never judged me, she never wanted to fuss about anything. She just had simple, good values. Because of her we know there’s more to life than material things.”

In mid April Nancy tested positive for Covid-19 and she died in Marymount Care Centre on April 15th aged 92.

On the day of her funeral, Nancy’s neighbours lined the Ballyboden Road in Rathfarnham for over a mile, creating a guard of honour and applauding as the hearse passed by. “She would have been so thrilled by that, community was so important to her.”

Her family, including grandchildren Anne, Colin, Stephen, Emily and Ciara, take comfort now in the knowledge that she has been reunited with Peter. “She and my grandfather were the perfect couple, they went everywhere together,” said Anne. “Now they’re back together.”

Covid-19: Lives Lost