In the last week two two prominent longserving parish activists – hurling legend Phelim Murphy and the Queen of lackaghbeg Bridgie Coppinger – marked their ninetieth birthdays with quiet family celebrations.
Bridgie Coppinger had given a lifetime of dedicated service to various organisations in the parish over a long number of years. Although a native of Castlegar parish, Bridgie quickly made lackaghbeg her new community.
Rearing a large family in the difficult time of the fifties and sixties was never easy and Bridgie like many generations before her cycled to the marked in Galway selling eggs, butter, bread or indeed anything that would help to provide for her family.
Bridgie was actively involved in various organisations in the parish. From her early involvement in the Lackagh Guild of the Irish countrywomen’s Association to her work with Lackagh Museum, whatever role Bridgie took on it was one of activity.
She always had pride in her family of three sons Gerry, Tommy and Paddy and her daughter’s Cathleen, Mary, Norina, Breda, Olivia, as well as her grandchildren and extended family.
Known for years as Queen of Lackaghbeg, Bridgie has been confined to her home in recent years but still takes an active role on what is happening around around and kept informed by her family of three sons five daughters.
Just a few days after Bridgie Coppinger hit the magical ninety figure legend of ther parish was also celebrating his ninetieth birthday. In Waterview Phelim Murphy was joined by family for a quiet celebration on reaching his tenth decade.
For over forty years Phelim had given a lifetime of service to the GAA. during his time involved he served as many roles within his native Turloughmore and Galway.
Phelim served as chairman of Turloughmore club for over twenty years and went on to give another twenty four years as Secretary of Galway hurling board, Presient of Connacht Council and a member of the GAA Management committee in Croke Park, also serving as Vice President of the GAA.
Phelim presided over the most successful period ever in the history of galway hurling and was recognised for his achievement when he was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Law by NUIG. His home became one of the best known in the county as he used to distribute All Ireland tickets from his home in the glory days of the GAA, and all year round it was an open house for the many callers that came to visit Waterview.
Phelim Murphy worked hard rearing a large family, and potatoes became the main livelihood in their family farm and during the early years as County Hurling Secretary, Phelim could be found grading potatoes in the shed at three in the morning to make up for the time lost at GAA work, as a family had to be provided for.
Sadly Phelim has struggled with health issues in recent years but great care has been given to him by his wife Nellie, his family P.J., Tony, Marina, Jody, Phelim Jnr, Dolly, Patricia, Cassie, Helen, Martin, Majella, Brendan, Sally, Ruth and Christine, many of his 37 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. Congratulations to Bridgie and Phelim as they mark the milestone of reaching their tenth decade.