by ehistoryadmin on March 7, 2020

Leinster Leader 11 June 1998

Recalling the late Hester May

 The Athy community lost one of its most colourful characters recently when Hester May (nee Dooley) died at the age of 92. Hester was the daughter of Michael Dooley from Duke Street who had the terrace on the Stradbally Road named after him.

His shop was frequently visited by Republican activists and there were many raids by the Black and Tans. Hester joined the Cumann na mBan at an early age and in 1919 she joined her sister Kathleen in Dublin.

Hester secured a job as a secretary to Piaras Beasai, head of publicity for the IRA. She later worked for JJ O’Connell who was director of training for the IRA. Hester also worked for Oscar Traynor, who was the leader of the attack on the Custom House in May of 1921.

Hester rubbed shoulders with all the leading men of the times and remembers in particular meeting both Michael Collins and Eamon DeValera. She married Joe May, another Republican activist, in 1923. They settled down in Athy and Joe worked at the County Home until his death in 1961.

Hester has remained in Athy since her return over 70 years ago and up until shortly before her death was Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the area.

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