Midwife Mary Ellen Coppinger, Moylough, Co. Galway
Midwife Mary Ellen Coppinger’s life.
Mary Ellen Coppinger was born Mary Ellen Connelly on 10th November 1919 at Brierfield, Abbeyknockmoy. Mary Ellen sat her exams in 1938, went to England in 1942 to train to be a nurse and midwife before returning and taking up a community midwife post at home in Moylough where she served her community for over 30 years. She met and married Willie Coppinger and they, and their family, ran a successful and very diverse business in Moylough that included a drapery, footwear, gas appliance, public house and other enterprises also. Over time the business has evolved and today is a very successful home furnishing enterprise.
Mary Ellen cycled her bike through every byway of the hinterland and delivered all of her babies at home. Where a baby needed extra medical treatment they were often sent to Tuam Hospital in a little shoebox. She also attended to the needs of traveller community women for their births. When their time was nearing the traveller family would camp up in an area known as “Black Corner”, near Moylough.
Mary Ellen was approached by Mary Mannion from Moylough Social Services to write an article on her life and times as a midwife and this invaluable contribution is contained the book, In a Lifetime.
Mary Ellen is fondly remembered by her community and passed away on 19th December 2010 at the great age of 91.
Click the link to hear Mary Ellen’s daughter, Mary Dolan, chatting with Emma Laffey for the An Bhean Ghlúine Project.