Growing Up Near Lough Colga

by Marie McPartlin

My father and mother, Malachy and Susan McPartlin (nee Melanephy), and myself arrived in Calry in June 1963.  They had been farming in Killargue before that.  They both came from similar backgrounds, Dad, one of six children, from a small farm in Raheelin, near Kiltyclogher in Co. Leitrim and Mother, one of five children from similar in Skeagh Co. Cavan, although her family moved to Fermanagh when she was a child.  Dad had worked on the family farm and later worked for the forestry which is now Coillte.  Before they got married my mother worked in Dublin for a Lord and Lady Myles. He was a renowned surgeon and in an article I read recently was “larger than life in Edwardian Dublin.” I remember my mother talking about meeting people like Hilton Edwards and Michael Mac Liammoir.

Susan and Malachy McPartlin

When they arrived in Calry, Dad was self-employed gardening, which he loved.  He was quiet and loved nature and animals and was not one for socialising much.  My mother was a stay at home wife, and she loved her gardening and was known for her baking skills. She loved her neighbours visiting and would regale everyone with stories of ghosts and her time in Dublin.  Some would say that they had goosebumps going home in the dark after one of Mum’s convincing ghost stories.   Unlike my Dad she loved socialising and had she lived in a different time would probably been a party animal.

They loved living in our house with Lough Colga as a backdrop, Dad lived till he was 85.  He was well known for driving (mostly dangerously) his beloved Honda 50 which he drove up to three weeks before he died.  My mother lived to the ripe old age of 94.

I have magic memories growing up in Calry.  Carefree days when we were allowed to wander where we liked without any threat of danger, unlike today.  As an only child, I loved the hustle and bustle of my friend Catherine McGwynne’s large family home from down the road and there was constant traffic between the two houses.  I went to Calry School and later the Mercy College, and enjoyed the wonderful friendships of Mary Feehily (McGowan) Marion Fowley (Davis) Bernie Carr (Clarke) and Una Cunningham (Rooney) R.I.P.  We were a very staunch gang.  There was the fun of the Youth Club and Calry dances, when I sometimes took my father’s Honda and without licence, insurance, helmet or any real knowledge of how it worked. I even ferried a friend or two around. Mary Kelly didn’t know the chances she was taking! There must have been an army of guardian angels on high alert on those nights…


I have a great love for Calry and although I was born in Leitrim, when asked where I’m from, it is always Calry.

Marie McPartlin.