02 Maura Varley. Creagh Road, Ballinrobe

Photo:Maura Varley RIP

Maura Varley RIP

Declan Varley

Photo:Maura Varley on prom at Salthill

Maura Varley on prom at Salthill

Declan Varley

Photo:Maura waiting for a train

Maura waiting for a train

Declan Varley

Photo:Maura practicing for a sketch

Maura practicing for a sketch

Declan Varley

Photo:Mom Maura with one of her three sons, Michael

Mom Maura with one of her three sons, Michael

Declan Varley

"Always believe in the capacity of the written word to move and inspire" - Maura Varley

By Declan Varley

Maura Varley (nee Morris) was born and raised in the house at High Street where she lived for the next 80 years. As unofficial queen of the street over the best part of a century, she oversaw many changes in her immediate area. When she was born, her father worked for the Kenny family on their estate at Bridge Street; and the nearby cavalry and infantry barracks were still not long out of use.

Maura worked as a legal secretary in Daly’s in her twenties, which gave her lifelong interest in the written law. In 1955, she married Paddy Varley, a native of Cross, a talented electrician who wired hundreds of houses and installed Pye radios in the west. Paddy was later a porter in the Bank of Ireland for quarter of a century. He was also a well-known angler and boatman. They had three children, Michael, PJ, and Declan, all of whom have represented Ballinrobe at various endeavours over the years, and who continue to be strong advocates for the town and county.

Maura Morris was the first secretary of the Ballinrobe Agricultural Show, and was overjoyed when the Show brought the surviving members together for a celebration to mark the 50th anniversary some years ago.

An avid writer, Maura won awards for her short stories in her teens and twenties, (one of which was Mrs Piggie Wiggie’s Washing Day) and later wrote poetry and long informative and colourful letters to pen pals from around the world.

Her home at High Street, also housed the Ballinrobe Town Library for a time in the 1980s, and it was later the base for The Eavesdropper local newsletter, which she used to oversee and proofread for the duration of its publication in the mid-1980s.

A stickler for current pronunciation and punctuation, she kept a journal up until her eighties. An avid crossword fan and competition fanatic, Maura won hundreds of prizes in national and international magazines for three decades. Her sculpted ditties, anecdotes, and phrases are often used by her son Declan in his writings, and one of these was read out by the celebrant priest at her funeral mass in St Mary’s Church in October 2018. 

“Every time you pass a church, make sure you pay a visit. 

So on the day you’re carried in, the Lord won’t say ‘who is it"

This page was added by Averil Staunton on 21/08/2019.