Lives Lost to Covid-19: Ann O’Carroll – a fabulous person who cherished her family
Ann’s husband remembers his ‘soulmate’ as a ‘lovely, loving and gorgeous woman’
Ann O’Carroll (1952-2021)
This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. You can read more of them here. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email email@example.com.
Ann Bollard was celebrating her 21st birthday in the Drake Inn Cabaret Lounge in Finglas, Dublin, when Michael O’Carroll spotted her sitting across from him and his friend.
Cabaret lounges were a big thing for entertainment in the early 1970s, Michael recalls, reflecting on the night he met his soulmate. Ann and he got chatting and arranged to meet later at Good Time Charlie’s nightclub off Parnell Square in town.
She was about to leave by the time he managed to get to the club and was coming out the door as he was entering.
But that near miss did not deflect their relationship. Romance blossomed and three years later in 1976 the couple were married. “I think you know when you have a soulmate,” he says of meeting her. “I used to hear that word being bandied around many times but basically it’s true as far as Ann is concerned.”
She was his soulmate and friend and they became a couple who knew each other inside out and were “just all round extremely compatible”.
Ann grew up in Shanowen Road in Santry, one of 10 children and when she finished school worked as a cashier in a supermarket – a job she continued to do until the couple’s three children arrived.
At first the O’Carrolls lived with Michael’s mother in Finglas while they saved for a deposit, with a short time in an apartment, before eventually buying their own home in 1980 in Huntstown Rise, Mulhuddart, where they had almost 41 years together.
Ann lived for her family. She loved and adored her children Mark, Jacqueline and Stephen, and doted on her cherished grandchildren Sophie, Amelia, Cameron and Cayden, who lovingly called her Purple Nanny.
During downtime Ann enjoyed TV soap operas Coronation Street, Fair City and Emmerdale. She also loved murder mysteries including Colombo, Murder She Wrote, Poirot and her favourite, reality TV show Judge Judy.
She also enjoyed quizzes, games and her Facebook page and showed an unwitting skill for black humour as she learned the intricacies of new technology. When granddaughter Sophie set her up on Facebook, Ann’s first post was that Columbo had died, even though that occurred two years earlier.
She also never quite got the hang of the online lingo and when a family member posted on Facebook about the death of a loved one, her reply “was sorry for your loss LOL, thinking LOL meant lots of love”, when in actually meant “laugh out loud”.
Ann and Michael were together 47 years in total and like all couples had their ups and down, arguing over silly things, serious things and then “arguing just for the sake of arguing”. She loved politics and greatly enjoyed plenty of arguments about it.
Her world was focused on her immediate and extended family and “all the birthdays, holidays, Christmases, Easters, schooling, heartaches, pitfalls, disappointments and above all playing with her children and grandchildren”.
She enjoyed those family “anniversaries, nights outs, nights in, parties, shows, eating out, takeaways, schools, weddings, Christenings, Communions, Confirmations, graduations, holidays, funerals, and best of all the family rows”.
Her strength and fortitude was shown particularly in the last three years as she fought sepsis, infections, pneumonia twice, a broken hip, pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease stage 4.
“But she still managed to smile and keep her great sense of humour and enjoyed her life the best she could.” She had been in hospital four times in six months, the last time contracting Covid-19. She died unexpectedly in Connolly Hospital on February 3rd, this year.
Michael had retired in 2019 from his job as a general manager in a food production plant. “We never really got the chance to enjoy our retirement years together,” he says.
But for him, Ann was “one fabulous person. She was a lovely, loving, gorgeous woman – perfect”.