New Year’s Day 2018: Eleanor Rose Clarke (Comyn) was buried in the Comyn grave in Bishop’s Quarter, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. Unable to attend (undergoing treatment for cancer) I was there in L’Esprit (Chapter 4)



See the sullen sweeps of Burren
Bend to meet the moody sea
Down below a stud valley
Which is always home to me.

Men of kindness and of courage
Sons of centuries toil
Coaxing out a narrow living
From a sparse reluctant soil

Wives and children of the Burren
Homes that show the light of love
As they grapple there with nature
The sea skies of blue above

When my years have had their living
When at last it is time to die
Bring me back to BALLYVAUGHAN

Our dear James Peter rests in Ballyvaughan and is at peace.

Poem written by: Sir James Comyn, formerly of Belvin Hall, Tara, Co. Meath

and London SW3


Today, Eleanor Rose Clarke nee Comyn  joins her Father Mother Aunts Uncles and of course her dear first cousin JJ in Bishop’s Quarter graveyard.  It is in Bishop’s Quarter that the Comerford Blake-Forster Vault is located; but both Marcella, Eleanor Rose’s mother and Eleanor Rose have decided to be buried in the Comyn grave.  Ironically, both the Comyn’s and the Blake-Forster are related to the Macnamara’s (Caitlin Macnamara married Dylan Thomas) so the storm of New Year’s Eve named Dylan and the storm named ‘Eleanor’ the arrival of Eleanor Rose to the world beyond that described so eloquently described by JJ in the poem above.

Insert:– Co Clare and Galway – how families intertwine through centuries and all meet back where as JJ wrote “See the sullen sweeps of Burren Bend to meet the moody sea”.

Captain Francis O’Donnellan Blake-Forster of Castle Forster, Kinvara, County Galway and Ballykeale House, Co. Clare, who was High Sheriff of Galway in 1878.He married in 1879, Marcella, eldest daughter of Robert Johnston, Esq., J.P., of Arran View, Doolin, Co. Clare, and co-heiress of Sir Burton Macnamara.
i) Francis Blake-Forster, of Corr House, Co. Clare, who married in 1914, Ethel R. Taaffe. He is the present head of the family O’Donnellan Blake-Forster ii) Robert Blake-Forster iii) The O’Donnellan (Donie) Blake-Forster married Julia iv) Catherine Blake-Forster, who married in 1910, John St. George Lucas Esq., J.P., Sandfield, Co. Clare. v) Mary Blake-Forster, who married in 1911, David Crawford Pearson, Esq., M.D., Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. vii) Frances R. Blake-Forster, who married in 1918, Arthur Matthew Kelly Esq., Porte, Co. Clare. viii) Marcella Blake-Forster, who married Michael Comyn, KC

Written as transcribed from the Genealogical Sketch of the Sept of  Blake-Forster published in the “Galway Vindicator” 1866 dated October 20th.  The present two generations will be detailed as an addition at later stage.


“There is peace even in the storm” Vincent Van Gogh. 1st January 2018 I, eldest and oldest daughter of Eleanor Rose attended my Mum’s funeral and read the 1st reading and last Prayer of the Faithful.

Photos Funeral (to be included)

Woven basket coffin.  There were four outsiders looking in the second last row at the back of Skryne Church, Tara, Co. Meath.

I was informed by email that my niece would be doing the first reading.  I said No that I would be doing so as the eldest and only daughter.  I was excluded from any contribution to the funeral mass on behalf of my Mother’s family, which quite blatant alienated and excluded me.  KT assisted me and having phoned the Bishop for Meath and the Primate, it was agreed I would do the first reading and the last of the Prayers for the Faithful.

Four priests (including my Father’s brother, Paddy Clarke) said the funeral mass.  Fr Thomas O’Mahony gave a very touching sermon making reference to Mum’s involvement over 53 years as a GP in Skryne, Tara, Co. Meath and her continued involvement in the community.  Mum walked daily with her much loved dog Gracie so when people noticed that she had not been out walking on that day they investigated.  Nobody has chosen to share the details with me.   Thanks to someone who recalled the quote my Mum liked and Fr O’Mahony included in the sermon:-

“If you want to be happy for the day, have a good meal. If you want happiness for a week, get married. To be happy for the rest of your life, start a garden.”

It appears the Gardai were not called and Mum was admitted to A&E on December 23rd 2017.

The photos tell the story.  The little Teddy.  Since I was diagnosed with cancer I have been meeting Mum every week and Mum asked me if I had wanted my teddy bear that my Mum’s mother had given me as a baby back in the early 1960’s.  Added to this she had found a rose that was on my blue Sunday dress which I now have on my wall beside my bed; then she gave me a rug; pajamas, beads from Padre Pio,

Thankfully I was permitted to do the First Reading; it was that chosen by Fr O’Mahony:  A reading from the Book of Wisdom (3:1-6.9).  To have wisdom is a gift and Rose as a doctor for 55 years, having worked in Hull, in Yorkshire, Nobber, Co. Meath, Fall’s Road in Belfast (brief period), Stradbally, Co Laois, Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon, arriving in Tara, firstly at Belper Dispensary house and grounds, on road to Tara Hill, and then to Skryne, had acquired much wisdom from her experiences in life.  Michelle read the first reading.

He accepted them as a holocaust

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.  In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace.

If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessing be.  God has put them to the test and proved them worth to be with him; he has tested like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.

They who trust in him will understand the truth, those who are faithfully will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

The Word of the Lord.

Fr Paddy Clarke, Columban Father, brother-in-law of Eleanor Rose, read the Gospel

Prayers of Faithful read by Eleanor Rose’s grandchildren:- Conor, Molly, Gile, Anna and Tom.  Her daughter Michelle read the last Prayer.  They were read from the altar.

Michelle read the last Prayer of the Faithful and included a few words of her own.

” Judge not , that you may not be judged…And why seest thou the mote
that is in the brother’s eye;and seest not the beam that is in thy own
eye?”…Matt 7.1-5…

Lord help us to examine our own lives so that by thy grace we dare NOT
to condemn another, but rather see OURSELVES in most need of thy

LORD hear us….
Lord graciously hear us…

The Bishop of Meath does not permit Eulogies at funerals but I had an opportunity and as opportunities come to pass and not to pause I decided to add my own few words.  I said that at this time last week I was meeting my Mum in the Westin and that Rose was advising me on the importance of being positive in my mindset about breast cancer.  I said that over 40 years ago we had arrived in Co Meath as blowins and I thanked all on behalf of my Father, my Mother, JJ and me.  I thanked my partner KT also.

Family and lore runs deep in Co. Clare and family connections through generations become rejuvenated at a time of passing.

Days have passed and numb is all I can say I feel. I take  up a book and put it aside for Rose as I did so often when I met each week at the Atrium in the Westin hotel for coffee and scones, one plate shared between the two of us.  If I didn’t have a book, I would have Ireland’s Own (which my partner KT reads, as did JJ) and which Mum loved to read.  Often I would have snippets from the newspapers so that we could chat about the world and what goes on.

It is 14th January 2018 and the abyss is vast, my routine as necessitated by traumatic brain injury is in turmoil.  KT tells me it is Tuesday and it is chemo day again so I must now allow my Mum the freedom of being in a different place but hold dearly all that was so positive about her as a human being.



About michelleclarke2015

Life event that changes all: Horse riding accident in Zimbabwe in 1993, a fractured skull et al including bipolar anxiety, chronic fatigue …. co-morbidities (Nietzche 'He who has the reason why can deal with any how' details my health history from 1993 to date). 17th 2017 August operation for breast cancer (no indications just an appointment came from BreastCheck through the Post). Trinity College Dublin Business Economics and Social Studies (but no degree) 1997-2003; UCD 1997/1998 night classes) essays, projects, writings. Trinity Horizon Programme 1997/98 (Centre for Women Studies Trinity College Dublin/St. Patrick's Foundation (Professor McKeon) EU Horizon funded: research study of 15 women (I was one of this group and it became the cornerstone of my journey to now 2017) over 9 mth period diagnosed with depression and their reintegration into society, with special emphasis on work, arts, further education; Notes from time at Trinity Horizon Project 1997/98; Articles written for 2003/2004; St Patricks Foundation monthly lecture notes for a specific period in time; Selection of Poetry including poems written by people I know; Quotations 1998-2017; other writings mainly with theme of social justice under the heading Citizen Journalism Ireland. Letters written to friends about life in Zimbabwe; Family history including Michael Comyn KC, my grandfather, my grandmother's family, the O'Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forsters; Moral wrong: An acrimonious divorce but the real injustice was the Catholic Church granting an annulment – you can read it and make your own judgment, I have mine. Topics I have written about include annual Brain Awareness week, Mashonaland Irish Associataion in Zimbabwe, Suicide (a life sentence to those left behind); Nostalgia: Tara Hill, Co. Meath.
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