Carmel Hickey obituary: A fighter who was always defying the odds
Lives lost to Covid-19: Carmel was ‘such a tough old lady’
Carmel Hickey: ‘She was a proper mam. She was our mam.’
This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email: email@example.com.
Carmel Hickey (nee McHugh) was born in 1937 into a large family in the North Wall area of Dublin but she grew up on Sperrin Road in Drimnagh. As a child she developed a passion for singing and dancing, and it was a passion which stayed with her throughout her adult life.
“She loved ballroom dancing and still loved to have a dance when the mood took her,” says her daughter Michelle. “She had a lovely singing voice and used to enter competitions when she was young. Then she met my dad, Liam Hickey, and together they used to go to dances all over Dublin. She was such a good dancer and even when she was older and struggling to walk she loved it and would be showing us how to do it right when music that she liked came on.”
Carmel’s first job as she grew into adulthood was in a drapery store where she held a range of different positions before she moved on to set up a shop of her own, in the Liberties. It was called Carmel’s Baby Boutique. She was still running the shop when she had a baby of her own – Michelle. Then 10 years later Jason was born.
“She was always there for her family and was very house-proud, being very talented in wallpapering and painting; she loved putting her own personal touch to everything she did,” Michelle says.
The family moved on several occasions before settling in Tallaght.
Carmel loved her soaps and she loved Mrs Brown’s Boys and Brendan O’Carroll.
“After a serious medical incident, she ended up in Tallaght Hospital and spent a lot of time there before being transferred to Glencarrig Nursing Home and later St Brigid’s, Crooksling.”
But before she fell ill she fell in love with her garden “and loved growing roses, in particular”. She was fond of “apple cake and was very particular with her tea”, Michelle recalls.
“Ultimately, she was very determined and the more you counted her out, the more she would show you how wrong you were, which is a great quality and is something we aspire to emulate,” Michelle says. “She was such a tough old lady.”
Her beloved Liam died in 2012. “Mam never really got over that,” Michelle says. “But she was a fighter and was always defying the odds. When she was told she could not do something, she grew more determined to do it. She was a proper mam. She was our mam.”
Carmel Hickey died on March 30th in Tymon North Nursing Home after contracting Covid-19.