Above: Ciss Crowley taken by Mary Cahalane
An exhibition of photographs by the late Mary Cahalane, in association with Clonakilty Camera Club, will run at Clonakilty Community Arts Centre until Tuesday, December 1.
Mary was a very active member of the Clonakilty Camera Club for about nine years, and secretary for three years (2003 – 2005) She won the club’s coveted Photographer of the Year award and played a major role in the years the CCC was involved in the Barryroe calendar. Two of her photos of well-known local personalities, Ciss Crowley (not far short of 100 at the time), and Eily Nyhan, were chosen to be exhibited in Dublin to launch Positive Ageing Week in 2007.
She was well-known locally for her photos of personalities, school children, and events such as the Courtmacsherry Patrick’s Day Parade, with which she was closely involved. But her camera eye captured memorable imagines from travels further afield with her family.
Mary was born in Kilnamartyra, near Macroom (in her holidays she painted the soldiers made in the village’s famous Toy Soldier Factory), went to teacher training college, and taught for nearly 20 years at the Barryroe National School. She and her husband Denis, who worked with Met Eireann until his recent retirement, lived in Courtmacsherry. Their son Jack, now 18, is studying Commerce at UCC.
Mary was bursting with creativity, talent and energy. Besides her keen interest in photography, she sang with several choirs, played the tin whistle superbly, composed music, was passionate about calligraphy, loved set dancing, the Irish language and all things Irish and lived life to the full. Her passing at the age of 53, in 2014, was felt keenly by the many people whose lives were touched and enriched by hers.
This exhibition of some of her photographs is a tribute to her memory.