Eimear Mary Clarke was born to Liam and Sheila Clarke of Mulroy Park. She was older than her twin sister Rachel by three minutes. Both girls were premature and were considered miracle babies of their time.
The twins were always immaculately dressed, they weren’t identical but always wore matching outfits. We nicknamed Eimear, Rapunzel because her long hair was always tied up in neat plaits.
Once, Eimear entered a competition in Curleys (local supermarket) to win a Sprite mountain bike. She won. When the manager found out she was a twin, he sent for another bike for Rachel. The girls were the envy of the street and everyone wanted a go on their new bikes.
They went nowhere without each other. They fought the peace out but always had each others back when there was a disagreement with someone else.
As a young child, Eimear was a mischievous wee girl. Always laughing and seeing what she could get away with. When she was caught being up to no good, she stood her ground and argued black was white. She was fearless, if there was a dare – Eimear would be up to carrying it out. She delighted in giving everyone a laugh.
Eimear’s mummy Sheila and aunt Maura reared their kids close together. The two families would have rented a house in Newcastle for the summer and the Clarke’s and Matthews made many happy memories. Eimear loved Newcastle and sometimes returned on sunny days with her own kids.
Eimear attended St Oliver Plunkett Girls Primary School and later on St Genevieve’s High where she became a popular pupil. She followed the footsteps of her big sisters Marguerite and Deirdre and became a loyal member of Carrigart Youth Club. In their teens, Eimear became a tomboy and Rachel went for the more girly look. When they were too old for the youth club, they emigrated to the local forest park, they called it ‘The Riviera’. It was a place Eimear kept close to her heart.
At a young age, Eimear and Rachel became aunties and role models to Seamus, Garret, Bethany, Patrick and Eve. They saw their brother in laws Kevin and John, more as actual brothers. The Clarke family was very tight knit and respected in Dungloe and Mulroy.
Eimear was never ‘behind the door’ and gave her opinion on everything. One thing she hated was bullies. If she saw someone being picked on or saw they were being blamed in the wrong – she would have been straight over helping them.
She left school to become a childcare assistant. A strong and determined young woman, she passed her training qualification when pregnant with her first son Michéal whom, like her – was a very premature baby.
A loving mother, she stood by Michéal’s incubator for months, praying for him to thrive. On her nineteenth birthday, Eimear gave birth to her second son Darrach, again prematurely. She was discharged from hospital but came back every day and night, willing him to fight for his life. Both boys were her pride and joy.
Her third child Logan was born on time and spared her any worry. Logan was a pleasant baby and Eimear devoted her life to getting on with being a busy mummy raising her children.
Her parents Liam and Sheila were her backbone. They went above and beyond the call of duty. They just wanted Eimear and the boys to be happy and did what they could for them.
As any young woman her age, Eimear had an interest in fashion and popular culture. Very rarely would Eimear’s appearance be of low standards. Any money she had, she put into feeding and clothing the kids, herself and making the house a home. Like any woman, she enjoyed getting out and dancing to house music.
Her sense of humour preceded her.
A man used to walk his dog every day outside the Clarke family home. He never ‘scooped the poop’. Fed up with this destruction of green space, Eimear confronted him with her two eldest boys in her arms. She shouted “Here! how would you like it if I shoved their dirty nappies through your letter box?” The man knew he was in the wrong and was embarrassed.
She felt criticised for having the two boys so close together. A local nun asked her to come down to the convent to book her wedding. Eimear’s response began with her usual “Here!…. see if you find me someone to marry, I’ll be down”.
She was quick witted and ‘would cut the ankles off you’. She inherited this trait from Sheila. A real lady who never needed to lift her hand, she just opened her mouth and spoke softly. Whereas Eimear’s voice was loud. She never needed a microphone.
Twelve years ago, Eimear’s single parent friend had just had a baby and was experiencing the baby blues. Eimear told her to go to bed and get some sleep. She looked after her baby for her and made bottles up for the next days feeds. She knew what it was like to be knocked down and she always put out her hand to help other people up. When it came to being a Christian, Eimear practiced more than preached.
There are loads of stories and memories we have of her but they are of a very personal nature and some are not fit to be broadcast in a holy place.
Eimear wasn’t without drama and that was why she was so popular. When she was fed up, she put on her housecoat and huffed for hours. Her Daddy nicknamed her ‘Greta Garbo’.
She was the kind of person who let you into her life to share your laughs and woes. She shared hers and both of you went away knowing there was trust there and what you spoke about would not be repeated.
Lenadoon was Eimear’s playground and later home stead. She never forgot where she came from and didn’t pretend to be something she wasn’t. She was a loving mummy, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Her thirty years on this earth have given all of us memories to last a lifetime.