Lives Lost to Covid-19: Patricia O’Mahony was a resilient woman and an avid fashionista

Patricia had great pride in her family roots, and a great love in music and culture

Patricia (Patsy) O’Mahony

1929 - 2021

Patricia O'Mahony, who died last month aged 91, was a woman of immense inner strength and resilience who overcame many challenges throughout her long life. She also had a striking personality with a fine sense of humour, pride in family roots, and a great love of music, culture and fashion. She was an avid fashionista with a distinctive taste in clothes bought from favourite shops in Cork.

It meant she would occasionally visit Dublin, a city she loved and where she enjoyed chatting with the people she met before stopping off in the old Wicklow Hotel or Hibernian Hotel to complete her day out before returning to Cork on the train.

Her long life in Cork stretched back to the days of paddle steamboats. Her father owned one of the last of these boats in Cork, "The Duke of Devonshire", which ran to Crosshaven and Kinsale.

Born at 29 South Terrace in Cork city on March 14th, 1929, yards from her father’s Rocksavage Engineering Works, she was proud of her parental Dwyer and Dennehy parentage.

Among her other interests, Patricia was an enthusiastic pianist and frequented the Cork Opera House to see local legends like Billa O'Connell in performance

Both were established and well-known Cork families, steeped in entrepreneurship and pride in their city. Her mother, like Patricia a woman of some style, belonged to the Dennehy clan whose "Dennehy's Cross" near Wilton was a landmark hub of business activity. It included car sales and garage, public house and shop, and, though still known by that moniker today, those enterprises have long gone.

Given her business background it was a surprise to some that Patricia married a doctor, Timothy J O'Mahony, whose general practice became one of the biggest in the city at The Lough, near the landmark urban bird sanctuary and lake on the southside of the city. It was there too they raised a family of her four children, Jakki, Peter, Paul and Joyce.

Among her other interests, Patricia was an enthusiastic pianist and frequented the Cork Opera House to see local legends like Billa O’Connell in performance and occasionally popped into the Crawford Art Gallery in the city. At heart, however, she was a private and kind person who met challenges in her long life with strength, resilience and, maybe, a prayer to St Anthony.

Prior to her husband Tim's passing in 2010 at the age of 84, Patricia had shown signs of dementia and entered full-time care at the Ballincollig Community Nursing Unit in 2017. Care teams there were delighted she was able to play the electronic keyboard, at times beginning a general sing song with the other residents.

Within a year, however, progression of the disease would rob her of those skills. Subsequently she would move her hands in mid-air mimicking the playing of the instrument when she heard a piano, on CD or via a mobile phone, and her eyes lit up in recognition of melodies she had known.

Mercifully, Patricia was spared undue suffering at the end, thanks to the wonderful care team in Ballincollig Community Nursing Unit. Music and her smile were the last to go before Covid-19 claimed her on January 19th, 2021, within days of a positive test. She is survived by her four children, grandchildren, and siblings Des, Claire, Nancy, Dolores and Gerry.