Monday 16 September 2019

Bernadette was an inspiration to many

BERNADETTE MURPHY (64), who died on Mother's Day, was a teacher who never stopped learning herself.

To many people, Bernadette (née O'Brien) who passed away peacefully at her home in Stavsnas, Coolcotts, was a primary school teacher. She loved working with children and, after she officially retired from Kennedy Park school four years ago, she continued as a resource teacher in Kennedy Park and the Gaelscoil.

But she had another dimension to her life – an interest in spirituality and complementary therapies which took her on courses abroad and brought her into contact with wide range of adults.

A daughter of the late Larry O'Brien and May Kelly, Bernadette grew up in New Ross, where her father ran the Central Garage, as one of seven children.

She is survived by her husband Nick, whom she met at a festival dance in the Talbot Hotel in 1974; her sons Brian and Barry; her sisters Mary, Margaret and Anne (New Ross); her brothers Jimmy (Slieverue) and Eddie (Clonmel); her daughter-in-law Rhatia; her extended family, and many friends.

Bernadette worked as a clerical assistant with the ESB in Great Island before going to Carysfort College in Dublin to train as a school teacher.

During that period of her life she took a special interest in helping elderly people in New Ross by visiting them and campaigning for better housing conditions for them. One blind couple, Paddy and Maggie Kelly, were living in very poor conditions. Bernadette lobbied the housing authorities to have them rehoused and when help was not forthcoming, she highlighted the issue through the national press and succeeded in having the couple re-housed in Rosbercon.

She taught in Clonroche and Kilrane national schools before obtaining a position in Kennedy Park School where she was worked full-time up to four years ago.

Following her retirement, she taught as a part-time teacher in Kennedy Park and the Gaelscoil. She worked in the Gaelscoil up to last September when she was diagnosed with cancer.

She always had an interest in what could be loosely described as esoteric thinking and read up on meditation and complementary therapies.

When she spotted a newspaper advertisement for a hypnotherapy course, her husband Nick offered to pay the fee as a wedding anniversary present.

She worked privately as a hypnotherapist on a part-time basis and later became interested in a treatment called Emotional Freedom Techniques. She travelled to California to study with its originator Gary Craig and began offering the therapy in Wexford. She later became an EFT trainer.

Her belief in angels led her to the author Diana Cooper with whom she also studied.

Bernadette was a talkative, energetic woman who had an instinct for knowing what needed to be done. She was thoughtful, kind, and helpful to others.

She was a Liverpool supporter who engaged in a friendly rivalry with pupils who supported Manchester United, sometimes walking into class and writing the previous night's score on the board – but only if Liverpool had won!

She had a mischievious sense of humour which she maintained right up to the end when she passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family.

Her funeral Mass took place on Tuesday in Clonard Church, followed by burial in Barntown, which was her parish during the 20 years the family lived in Glenville Road. She had been a member of the fundraising committee for the restoration of Barntown church.

Bernadette's tenacious can-do attitude, which was an inspiration to the many people she came into contact with during her life, will be sadly missed.

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