A local woman, whose life was marred by tragedy but who went on to rebuild her life and make a major contribution to her community, has written her life story.
Margaret Beggen Dowling’s autobiography A True Story of Sorrows and Joys will be launched on Saturday at Ballybane library at 2.30pm. Copies of her book will be on sale at the event.
The Ballybane woman emigrated when she was 19 to the United States in the early 1950s in search of a new life.
She found love but then was struck by the first of two great tragedies - her husband died, leaving her at just 28 with two young children to rear alone.
Grief stricken, she sold everything and returned to Ireland to pick up the pieces with her two little boys. She bought a plot of land in Ballybane and built a home there.
She found love a few years later when going to a wedding did indeed prove to be the making of another. She and her second husband went on to have two daughters. But again joy turned to sorrow when he died at the age of 55.
But Margaret Beggen Dowling once again found the strength to survive. She immersed herself in rearing her children and getting involved in community activities, from the Girl Guides to setting up an active retirement group. Her dedication to the community, mainly in the Ballybane-Mervue area, earned her a Mayor’s Award in 2014.
Encouraged by her family to share her life story, Margaret, who honed her writing skills at a creative writing course in Ballybane as well as a number of years attending Croi na Gaillimhe’s creative writing classes, has spent the past four years penning her autobiography.
The book also features her son Michael’s remarkable story of recovery from a major illness. Based in New York, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour 15 years ago. Despite a number of operations and radiation therapy it continued to grow. He was told by medical experts that there was little more they could do for him. He decided to visit Medjugorje three years ago and shortly afterwards the tumour disappeared and has not returned.
Margaret Beggen Dowling’s 500-page book, which includes several photographs and a number of poems, will be jointly launched at the weekend by James Harrold, the arts officer with Galway City Council and Margaret’s son Michael.