Local Faces - Rose O'Keeffe and Bridie Sweeney

By Mary Dennehy

As part of The Echo’s 40 birthday celebrations, we’re celebrating you, and local faces and places.

Over the following weeks we’ll share the stories of local people, and remind ourselves of the great community spirit across local areas. 

One of the first pit stops for The Echo when we started meeting people last month was St Maelruain’s Park to meet Rose O’Keeffe and Bridie Sweeney.

Both Bridie and Rose have a longstanding history of volunteerism and helping others that was passed down from their parents.

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Rose O’Keeffe and Bridie Sweeney (Image: Aidan O’Neill)

Born and bred in Tallaght, Bridie and Rose have been helping others since Tallaght was a small, rural village – and continued to support people as their hometown grew into what it is today.

“I remember my dad used to have me delivering messages to people on my bike, especially up around Bohernabreena “, Rose said in a phone interview with The Echo.

“When my kids were young they continued delivering items up to some of the older people living in Bohernabareena.

“My kids used to chop sticks and bring them up to people living on their own.

“I started working for Tallaght Welfare [now Trustus] and I’d be doing deliveries to people in need, like meals on wheels - on a bike.”

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Rose O’Keeffe (Image: Aidan O'Neill)

Rose’s bike also came in handy when new families started to move into estates in West Tallaght, and needed directions to their new home.

Rose would tell people to drop into Tallaght Welfare and she’d escort them up the road, or mud-track as Rose remembers all of the paths being at that time. 

Bridie and Rose’s own paths crossed through Tallaght Welfare, and they’ve been friends, kindred volunteers and a bit of a double-act ever since.

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Rose and Bridie (Image: Aidan O'Neill)

Tallaght Welfare was established in 1969 by resident Charlie O’Toole and Dominican brother, Father Hynes and is now known as Trustus – and is based in Tallaght Village.

While Bridie volunteered with Tallaght Welfare, she also focused a lot of time and effort into supporting St Vincent De Paul and, in turn, the people it supported.

Speaking as part of the Echo’s 40th celebrations, Bridie said: “I was delighted to be asked to be part of the Tallaght Echo’s 40 years.

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Bridie Sweeney (Image: Aidan O'Neill)

“I was born and reared in Tallaght so I remember the day The Echo came out and it has continued to flourish right to this day.

“In all the events I’ve been involved in over my lifetime and I’m going on 89, Tallaght Echo has been there for me and for all the people of Tallaght.”

Rose, Bridie and fellow community stalwart Aidan Thomas were each presented with special awards for a life-time of volunteering at Tallaght Person of the Year 2019.

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Rose and Bridie recieived a life-time achievement award at Tallaght Person of the Year 2019 (Image: Aidan O'Neill)

“The award was unbelievable, we really never dreamt of an award”, Rose told The Echo.

“We just love doing it, love helping people.

“I know we’re all in isolation at the minute but I’m always at the end of phone if anyone needs a chat." 

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