January 29, 2021

At Swim Ireland we were very saddened to hear of the passing of Mary Geran (picture left above with Patricia Healy).

Mary was Chief Coach of C.R.C.S.C. and when the club lost their pool at St Paul's in Raheny, joined up with Westwood SC and became Westwood CRC Chief Coach

Mary's son has kindly sent on the eulogy read at her funeral, with swimming heavily featuring in a life well lived.

Rest in peace Mary.

Mary Trehy was born on 30th August, 1942 at Holles Street Hospital, Dublin. Her childhood home was 110 Ringsend Park, Dublin 4. Next time you are paying your toll as you cross the East Link Bridge look immediately to you right hand side and you will see some semi detached houses. My Mother’s house is there looking directly on to the Liffey. As a young child we could walk out of that house to a wall and look directly into the Liffey.

Our Mother’s house in Ringsend backed directly on to Ringsend Park. As children we could squash our ways through the railings to access the park. For some reason there were spikes on top of the back railings in our Grand Mothers house. Once when our mother was a young child she slipped crossing to the park and became impaled on the railings. She bore the scare of that accident at the top of her neck throughout her life. But my Mother saw this serious accident as a minor inconvenience, brushed it off and continued with life as normal. This was to be the theme of her life. Illness and injuries to her were regarded as minor inconveniences that were to be set aside and dismissed, as she pursued her various passions and went about her life.

Mam went to primary school at Lake Lands in Sandymount. For secondary school she attended Loreto on Stephens Green. At this time she discovered her musical talent. She pursued piano training until she reached a level 8 Diploma level qualification.

She had various jobs during her life before she discovered her true talent. At one stage she had a part time job in Woolworths where I believe she was assigned to the Spectacles counter. On leaving school she managed to secure a job in the Civil Service, specifically in the Statistics Office which she left when she got married in 1966.

In the early 1960’s one of the popular ways to spend evenings was in ‘Dance Halls’. There was one particular dance club called the Royella Club and this is where Michael Geran and Mary Trehy met in the early 1960’s. As I mentioned in 1966 our Mam and Dad were married and the rest in history.

I mentioned that as a younger woman that my Mother was searching for her true mission in life. As many thousands of people will confirm, that mission was to be found in one of the most fundamental liquids on planet earth – namely WATER. She had a great empathy with children and this coupled with her ability to clearly communicate meant that she soon become a highly effective swimming teacher.

In the early days of her swimming career she learnt her trade with Aer Lingus Swimming Club. Soon after she transferred to CRC Swimming Club in Clontarf where she was pivotal in transforming the manner in which competitive and beginner’s swimming teaching was carried out. She had a special talent with starter swimmers or as she called them ‘babies’. But equally she was highly effective with more advanced swimmers. Children who had gone through several years of CRC Swimming Club training had a unique style. Quite often people would remark that based on technique that a particular child had to have been thought by Mary Geran.

In CRC swimming Club over the course of many years, she was responsible for the teaching and training of thousands of children. She gathered numerous teaching and coaching qualifications down through the years and became a well know swimming coach at National level. She would proudly point out that some of her swimmers had participated in the Olympics and the Paralympics. In 2012 she attended the Olympics Games in London with the Irish Swimming team and in support of one of her swimmers Barry Murphy. I quote from a message received from Barry Murphy in the last few days. “ Mary was a great woman and left a great legacy. I am so proud of her and so grateful for everything she gave us”.

We have received so many messages by email, text, phone and all forms of social media from all over the world. Many of these highlight the great positive effect that our Mother had on people’s lives.

From New Zealand, “Mary has shaped so may lives, mine included”.

From Texas, “ Mary was a real kick in the pants” which is a big Texan compliment.

From another person, “ Mary enriched the lives of thousands of children she thought to swim”. We learnt so much from her and she leaves a beautiful legacy”.

“Mary was possibly the first feminist I ever met, there was nothing she wouldn't try to do and she was afraid of no one”.

Mary Geran could understand and relate to people’s problems but more importantly was ready to stand up and make herself available to help with these problems. Ill health and sickness were irrelevant to our Mother. She was a soldier. She was tenacious and we gave up trying to stop her. That is why in September despite being fairly sick she was standing on a pool side issuing directions. That was why her philosophy in life was “You Rest You Rust’. She was intelligent and an avid reader. She wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in and she suffered no fools. She got tremendous satisfaction and was extremely proud of her grand children and her one great grand-child who she was very generous towards. That was the Mary Geran that we all knew.

Some of the more notable phrases that she coined include:-

  • Fish have no knees and
  • Assume the star-fish position

Finally, it is said that people are truly remembered based on the effect that they have had on other peoples lives. I and many people know that Mary Geran has had a huge positive effect on thousands of people and for that reason she will truly be with us for a long time.

May she rest in peace.