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Ellen Power - Eldest progeny of Maurice & Mary Power

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"Writings of Brother E"

Ellen Power, the oldest daughter of Mary “Hopkins” Power, married Martin Rea who worked in her mother’s bakery, located about where the De La Salle Monastery residence is presently situated. According to the tradition in the family, the name Rea was first heard in Waterford with the arrival of Martin Rea. Since it is a fairly common name amongst the Presbyterians of the North of Ireland, it was generally thought among the Rea family that their father hailed from the Unionist stronghold that still professes its loyalty to the English Crown as being more Saxon than the English themselves, and that he or his parents were converts to the Papists of Rome. They lived at first in the Shortcourse (The Rope Walk, as our elders were wont to call it) and finally in 15 Barrack Street, where the last survivors of the large Rea family still reside. When I used to visit the house in the Shortcourse, the father was on sticks and used to sit on the window sill in the sun. It was after his deat, when he could not have been very old, that the Reas changed residence to Barracks Street where the wife eventually died. My only recollections of Martin Rea consist of his sitting on the window sill and the fact that he was of medium height. My memories of Aunt Ellie are very fresh. I still recall her figure, with the kindly smile and the grey head, still standing at the fire in the hearth and gently arguing with her famous “character” of a son, Gerry, generally pleading with him to go down to Aunt Nan’s shop to collect the offal meat at the cellar. She was a very devout woman and instilled a loyalty in her family to religious observances of their Catholic faith. Thanks to her vigilance and her own good example, the Catholic tradition was faithfully passed on to the children, Maurice, John, James, Gerry, Michael, Minnie and Nellie of the Rea family.


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