Neighbours remember Tessie in the Rare Auld Times

by Sylvia Pownall

Mourners lined the streets of the capital on Monday to bid a final farewell to Tessie Carroll, a beloved matriarch of the inner city affectionately known as Queen of the Hill.

Street trading legend Tessie was known the length and breadth of the city and her neighbours on Hill Street came out to serenade her coffin on its final journey with ‘The Rare Auld Times’.

Fr Richard O’Dwyer told the handful of mourners at her funeral mass at St Francis Xavier Church on Gardiner Street the church would have been overflowing were it not for Covid-19 rules.

He was joined by Fr Michael Casey, parish priest of neighbouring Sean McDermott Street, as family paid one final tribute to Tessie who passed away at the Mater Hospital at the age of 88.

Fr O’Dwyer said: “She had a great spring in her step. I loved to see her here at mass on Sunday, she’d never fail to greet me and wish me all the best.

“As a mother, grandmother, wife, great-grandmother… what a wonderful woman she was. It’s not really about doing great things, but about doing the ordinary tasks with great love, and I think Tessie bore that out in everything she did.

“Lots of TLC, real love and hard work. She grew up in the flats in Harley Street and the Hanneys were a large family. The love between them was very evident. She lived life with a smile on her lips and a wonderful laugh. A tremendously kind woman.”

Mourners heard how when Dublin City Council tried to shut down the market on Cumberland Street, Tessie took them to court and won.

Tessie was hailed by long-time friend Cllr Christy Burke as an “outstanding activist and humanitarian”. Every Saturday for 60 years until her retirement in 2019 she wheeled her pram full of clothes and bric a brac to her pitch at the flea market on Cumberland Street North, known as ‘the Cobbles’.

Her daughter Jean said they would cherish memories of her 88th birthday and the surprise party thrown by neighbours. She also recalled Red Hurley performing at Tessie’s retirement party after 60 years of street trading.

She added: “Mam was a true Dub, she loved Dublin city. She loved the community she lived in. She loved to crack jokes and make people laugh. They broke the mould when they made our mam; she leaves a great legacy.”

Related Articles