Helen Doyle. Nellie Doyle R.I.P. X2. The Still. Monageer, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

I just heard about two people with the same name that I would have known very well, who have both passed away. I was in shock after getting an e-mail about my uncle and have not responded by asking when the deaths occurred. One was Mrs. Helen “Mammy” Doyle R.I.P. and the other was Mrs. Ellen “Nellie” Doyle R.I.P..

Coincidentally, they would have been immediate neighbours of each other at one time at the ‘Still’ Pond, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. One was the owner of a pub and land and the other was once the owner of a wee shop at the ‘Still’.

They were both firm friends of my late uncle and long departed mother. Helen and Nellie Doyle made a tremendous fuss of him when he came home on holidays from Japan. He always had a gift for Nellie. He loved to visit them and have a sip in the pub and rest himself in Nellie’s humble abode next door. Nellie was of a very gentle disposition and they got on like a house on fire. She made such a fuss of him and he thoroughly lapped it up. He was so contented in her company and had such a soft spot for her.

I plucked up courage to check out details on Helen Doyle. I read in the Enniscorthy Echo that it was August of 2011 when she died. I had recently mentioned her when I did a post about my uncle. Not knowing the facts of course. It was about the times they went to the annual Galway Races and Point to Point Race meetings in Gowran and all around. The two of them were horse fanatics as indeed are cousins, one of whom was a trained jockey before he fell off horse at Cheltenham. I think the Doyle’s were involved in a thorough-bred race-horse syndicate. The cousin too has a race-horse.

“Sadness  of death of publican Helen Doyle. The death has occurred of well known publican Helen Doyle, whose pub at The Still in Fairfield is a landmark on the road between Enniscorthy and Caim. She passed away suddenly at the age of 80 in Wexford General Hospital on Wednesday, to the great sorrow of her husband Nick and their family.

Helen hailed originally from Carlow but arrived in Fairfield when she was a teenager after her parents acquired the public house. She spent a life time behind the counter, a role she played up to the time of her death. She had a passion for horse racing and attended the Galway festival at Ballybrit as usual just a week before she was taken ill last Tuesday.

Funeral Mass for Helen Doyle was celebrated at St. Aidan’s cathedral on Friday by Father Richard Lawless, with interment afterwards in St. Mary’s cemetery.

She is mourned by her grieving husband Nick, by her five children Catherine, John, Nicky, Annette and Evelyn; by her eleven grandchildren, by members of the extended family.” The Enniscorthy Guardian ran with the same story.

“Also to Joan Doyle Monageer whose sister Ellen (Nellie) Doyle (nee Ryan) died on March 22 aged 90. After requiem mass in St Aidan’s Cathedral, Enniscorthy she was laid to rest beside her husband Patrick in St Mary’s Cemetery, Enniscorthy. R.I.P..” Gorey Guardian. 2011

Nellie would have been suffering with Alzheimers for a long time. She gave up the one-elongated storied long old house at the ‘Still’ as she couldn’t manage it, and went to live with Joan – her younger sister, in Monageer (Irish: Móin na gCaor. It was not very long afterwards that a row of six small houses were built on the spot. See: yellow door of one in upper photo. Well, they were small in comparison to the size of Doyle’s pub and residence. They appeared so much out of synch in the neat scenic area. The Celtic Tiger had come to the ‘Still’, in a small way. I spent many years cycling or driving or thumbing out to visit them – six miles outside Enniscorthy in the Ferns direction.

We all diligently sat around the square table facing the big open briquette turf / Polish coal fire. Laid out sumptuously on the nature-patterned oil-cloth table was homemade apple-tart, soda bread, homemade rhubarb/ginger jam; home-made salted butter, home-grown scallions, tomatoes and lettuce, free-range duck-eggs and homemade ginger cake. All was washed down our palettes with strong loose tea from Joan’s extra special tea-flask.
Taking part in the Oylegate Tractor Run last Sunday in aid of local charities were John and Matt Doyle from Monageer and Pat Doyle, Cooladine, Enniscorthy.Taking part in the Oylegate Tractor Run on Sunday 17th May 2011 in aid of local charities were John and Matt Doyle from Monageer and Pat Doyle, Cooladine, Enniscorthy. Their father before them was passionate about old tractors. They knew every inch of them and even repaired them from scratch in a shed at the house, as a hobby.
Then Matt and brother John would arrive in from work and sit down to eat and join in with the banter. They always had a smile for me. They knew I had got a raw deal in life and were very empathetic. They couldn’t do enough for me. I was spoiled rotten – just like my uncle. Nellie was always amused at how I’d arrived on the scene, if she didn’t see my bicycle or car. There were ten siblings in her family and they all had to look after each other when the mother suddenly died when Joan was very little. Nellie was the oldest and became like a mother to Joan the youngest. So I know that she”ll be missing her so much, as they were never apart from each other for long. Joan also married a lovely man, also by the name of Doyle, who came from a family of sixteen and of whom the latter is somehow connected to Anne Doyle, the RTE Newscaster. Some members of the family went as far as Australia, London and Dublin.
In light of Nellie’s Alzheimers, I’d been looking at obituaries before now and can now understand why I couldn’t find anything. I never thought to look at the Gorey Guardian. Instead, I looked at the Enniscorthy Guardian/Echo. Not thinking that Monageer comes under Gorey parish. [Monageer, which is a very scenic tiny hamlet, unfortunately became notorious for clerical child abuse. I somehow seemed to have landed up in a lot of villages connected to clerical child abuse. Strange!]
I note that Nellie got a small write-up only in the Gorey Guardian. She would not have been a prominent member of the community. I shan’t go into that here, as it’s not the right time or place.
Somebody told me that people pay for death notices to be put in the papers?
I’m now left wondering as to whether my uncle went to the two funerals, as undoubtedly if he was in any good shape he would have participated in the memorial masses. I must ask Kathleen Mahon who gave me the news before she departs next week on her annual trip to America.
See also:

The death has occurred of Helen DOYLE, (née O’Neill) of The Still, Enniscorthy, Wexford. Publican. Reposing at Crosbie’s Funeral Home, Enniscorthy from 11am today, Thursday, with removal this Thursday evening at 7.30pm to St. Aidan’s Cathedral. Funeral Mass tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon. Burial afterwards in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Date published: Thursday, August 04, 2011 Date of death: Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I saw this Irish Times obituary from 2005 which pertains to a brother of Joan and Nellie R.I.P.. George too was such a kind and loving person. He was very fond of my family – especially so my mother and Uncle Willie.


When people die in rural areas of Ireland it is very common to go to the wakes and funerals. It is spread like wild-fire all around about the latest person who has sadly departed. The whole community in general automatically become involved and go out of their way to greet those who are grieving. It’s so taken for granted. People are not uncomfortable talking about death. Children are reared to listening to conversations around the table of those who have died and do not in the main have hang-ups about death.
Older people religiously turn on the radio first thing every morning to listen to the obituaries. They open the obituary pages of the weekly newspapers first thing to see who has died. It’s second nature. Death is as natural as life and is not something that is kept secret. Like the weather it’s always up for discussion.
I found that when I lived in London, or Britain that in general it was a different story. Death was treated as a taboo or private subject and close members of the family mostly only took part in funeral services. Death in general – it seemed was a not the topic of every day conversations.
I don’t know what it is like for folk living in America? But judging from the experiences of silence about death, excepting those who are famous, that I’ve come across in the blogosphere, I would surmise that they are similar to the British in that they keep mum about it too. I don’t find this to be a healthy thing if that is the case. It would be interesting to do a bit of finding out about how other nations deal with the deaths of family, friends, neighbours, and the whole community.

2 thoughts on “Helen Doyle. Nellie Doyle R.I.P. X2. The Still. Monageer, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

  1. Hi, I am doing research on my Grandfather, Stephen Foley, who came to the US in 1896 when he was 5 yrs. old. His father was also Stephen Foley who married Ellen Doyle ( Her father was Daniel Doyle and mother Ellen Summers) They married on October 21, 1893 in the Roman Catholic Church of Enniscorthy. Would that be St. Aidan’s? I have in my brother’s notes that the church was on a river, but no name of the river. Is St. Aidan’s on a river? I also know that they lived in Fairfied, Co. Wexford. I have not found any siblings for “my” Ellen. But, being Cahtolic there must have been some. The two women you have mentioned Helen & Ellen “Nellie” Doyle both resided at Fairfield. Helen came from Co. Carlow when she was 16 and married Nick, who one could assumed came from Co., Wexford. Was Ellen “Nellie” a native to Co. Wexford and the area of Fairfield? I am wondering if either of these familys could possibly be related to me. Do you know how to contact any of Ellen or Helen’s relatives? Btw, I am coming to Ireland Aug. 1 and will be in that area on Aug. 5.

    Thank you for any help you might be able to give me.

    Sincerely, Carole (Foley) Coleman, Odessa, DE, USA

    • Hello, Carole.

      Enniscorthy covers a very wide area, so unless it specifically said St. Aidan’s cathedral, Enniscorthy, I would not necessarily go along with that particular church. However, in saying that, you continue on to say that the church was near a river, and in that case, it could possibly be St. Aidan’s Cathedral – which is only a stone’s throw from the infamous River Slaney. It could be that Ellen Summers originally hailed from the town and Daniel Doyle from Fairfield, which would be all the more reason why they would have married in St. Aidan’s – the parish of the bride-to-be, which is customary within the Roman Catholic Church.

      I would definitely discount Helen Doyle R.I.P., who originated from Co. Carlow and her husband, Nicholas, as he originates from way out beyond Wexford town, and only moved into the area after he married Helen O’Neill.

      I will post this piece of info and get back to you soon regarding Nellie Doyle.


      Check latest post here Carole.

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