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Tales of the Woman Who Inspired Our Business

Posted by Ward Gahan on

As we celebrate Mother’s around the world, it would be a shame if we didn’t pay homage to the Mother who inspired our business, my Mom, Bridget “Biddy” Murphy. Our Mothers have a way of shaping who we are. In my case, Biddy’s influence is still present in our business today. We too have a passion for storytelling, an allegiance to family (and in our case, customers), a love of fashion, a knack for being an early adopter and a desire to share the joy we get from our Irish and other worldly experiences.

Back to the original conversation about Biddy. She was born on a farm outside Killanaule in Co. Tipperary, in the middle of the best horse country in the world and now home to the Coolmore Stud Farm, which is the biggest employer in the region.  My cousins, The Murphy family, are still in Killbreedy outside Killanaule, so drop in to see them. I’m sure they’d love to have a chat!

Biddy’s allegiance to family was strong and she loved to go visit her them as often as she could.  Every week, Biddy was off to see somebody. Recounting who had died, sharing family lore and telling stories. One might refer to it as spreading gossip, but we like to call it storytelling. You might even say that Biddy was the internet before it was a thing -  she was connected. If her son was Al Gore, the internet might have turned out to be called “Biddynet.” My cousins, the Murphy’s, who had 15 kids, tell me now that they would scurry around, tidying up their houses before Biddy came in because she always had her place prim and proper. As the eldest Aunt that most of the Murphy clan had, you could say that she was a bit of a force.

Her sense of style was keen. Biddy was always dressed very smartly in the latest fashions. When I think about her, horn rimmed glasses and headscarves come to mind. Biddy also liked her shoes. Some might say that she could rival Imelda Marcos, if you know what I mean. Biddy also loved to go to auctions or estate sales. If we wanted, we could have had a set of silverware for every week of the year. Perhaps she was also the imelda Marcos of Silver Dinner service (knives/forks/spoons).

Had you known her, you might have also considered Biddy to be an “early adopter.” She was on the cutting edge and did many things that would have been considered “before her time.” Biddy was a member of the Civil Defense, which is the equivalent of the National Guard.  She went away on weekend duty a few times a year. Biddy was on the medical side, so if there was ever a national emergency, she would have been at the ready to bandage you up. Because I was her youngest by many years, sometimes Biddy brought me along as the “mock victim.” They would practice bandaging me and putting splints on my broken limbs. That’s my Mom, always showing her care for me.

Having been married in 1944, a time when very few people had cars and even less women drove, you’d see Biddy driving the family car. My father had a drivers license but never drove.  Biddy literally took the wheel. She was like that. Dad was a travelling salesman but for many years, Mom drove him everywhere. What a sight!

Let’s not forget the joy she got from sharing her worldly experiences, wit and wisdom. She didn’t have much of a filter. Later in life, when her grandson brought his bride-to-be for a visit, Biddy was amazed by how straight and white her teeth were. (In Biddy’s day, braces and orthodontists were not a big thing in Ireland.) “Are they your own teeth?” she asked. Welcome to the family! They got on great for years afterwards and we have all been blessed by seeing that straight-toothed, pearly white smile.

Biddy had a firm political view and when she was 93, she still insisted on being brought in a wheelchair to vote. Civil War politics are deeply embedded when you grow up in the middle of it.

Through it all, Biddy could always find joy. After she stopped driving at 89, Biddy kept her Volkswagen Beetle. (Up until this time, she used to get a new one every 3 years regardless of the condition.) Biddy loved that car and would sit in it in the driveway -  she called it my sunroom. Pretty darn witty when you think about Irish weather!

I hope as you are browsing that you’ll see Biddy’s influence in our authentic Irish items and the way we conduct our business. We are committed to sharing the joy of Ireland through authentic Irish goods, gifts and experiences. We treat our customers like family, (Perhaps even better!), with our “Delight or Make it Right” guarantee which means we want you to be delighted with your purchase. If you aren’t happy, we’ll gladly exchange your item or take your return. Afterall, we wouldn’t want to disappoint Biddy!

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Owner & CEO Ward Gahan
A Little About Us is a global online retailer for beautifully handcrafted Celtic gifts. We work with a variety of Irish artisans to source authentic jewelry, clothing, and home goods that make unique Irish gifts for all occasions. Some of our best sellers include Celtic Crosses, Trinity Knot necklaces, Irish blessings for the home, and gorgeous wool Irish caps, aran knit sweaters, scarves and blankets. We offer free shipping site wide as well as free returns and easy exchanges.

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