Breege’s friends and family will take on Croagh Patrick in her memory. Left to Right: committee member Caroline Lee from KBG Accountants, sister Mary O’Reilly, Conor Brady, daughter Emma Kelly, Andy Kelly, sister Nuala McGauran, daughter-in-law Lisa Kelly, son Declan Kelly, committee member Ciaran Brady from KBG Accountants. Front row: Grandchildren Zak, Ben, Ria, Siella, Ayla. Freya. Missing from photo: daughter Grace Kelly and grandchildren Rouge and Logan.

Climbing Croagh Patrick for a good cause

A local family will take on Croagh Patrick to raise much needed funds for local cancer support groups.

The Kelly family home in Laragh, Stradone, is full of activity with three generations, family and friends rallying around to support Andy Kelly, the loving husband and best friend of the late Breege Kelly.

Those who knew the couple say they were inseparable and always seen together. That is until oesophagus cancer took Breege’s life on December 9, 2022, just 10 weeks after her diagnosis.

Inside the packed kitchen, a photo of Breege sits on the counter surrounded by six candles.

“I keep that shrine going all the time,” the Laragh man said.

When asked about his wife a smile plays on Andy’s lips while his eyes fill with tears.

“She was special from day one,” he said, staring out the kitchen window while making a cup of tea.

Injured after a motorbike accident in his teenage years, the pair had been friends at the time and Breege came to visit him in hospital.

It was then Andy knew “she was the one".

They had known each other through a love of jiving and going to dances at local carnivals. Originally a Crosserlough woman, they didn’t live too far away.

“We always had a dance and a bit of craic,” he said.

The pair built their family home in 1979 and got married on August 21, 1980 when Andy was 22 and Breege was 23 years.

“We had a lovely life together,” he said.

For their honeymoon, the pair travelled across Ireland for three days having driven away from their wedding day with fish guts and cans hanging out of the car; traditional chaos carried out by wedding guests at the time.

Describing her personality, Andy takes a look at the photo of his wife sitting on the kitchen counter. Through a cracked voice, he says the words “jolly, friendly, up for a laugh, tender, loving and caring".

“She always had a smile for everyone,” he said.

Andy set up his steel business in AJK Steel Ltd in 1998 and the two could often be found working out in the shed together, with Breege also looking after the books. Located beside their home, people often came and went to the steel business. Breege would not let them leave without a cup of tea.

“That was her. Inside and outside, she was a great great person,” Andy said of his wife.

She spent her time walking, gardening and had a great love of country music - Derek Ryan and Daniel O’Donnell being two of her favourite singers.

Since her passing, Andy has learned some of her favourite songs, one being Daniel O'Donnell's ‘There’s a Blue Moon over My World Without You'.

“It’s so unfair. Breege never got a chance, it was a silent killer for her," he said of her illness.

“We thought life was about to start for us; the children and grandkids have started their own lives.”

Andy is thankful for “nearly fifty years of a loving marriage, a lovely family, eight grandkids and great memories”.

A cushion “given by a very dear friend” with an image of his wife and the words ‘My Forever Friend’ on the top sits on the couch in the kitchen.

“I love to sit and hold it,” he said.

The climb will take place on August 19, marking what would have been the couple’s 43rd wedding anniversary on August 21. Proceeds raised form the fundraiser will go to Cuan Cancer Support Centre Cavan, Cavan Monaghan Palliative Care Fund and the Oncology Unit in Cavan General Hospital.

“Until you need them you don’t realise how much love, care and respect they have for patients and family members.

“It’s just unbelievable what they do,” And said of the organisations.

The fundraier was organised the fundraiser “to keep Breege’s memory alive.” “It’s something to look forward to, it’s lovely to look at the phone to see it building up.”

Andy sincerely thanked everyone who has donated to the fundraiser to date and to those who have supported him since his wife’s passing. He particularly thanked organising committee, who helped him in setting up The fundraiser, and all of his friends of the former BNI Breffni Chapter.

Donations can be made by clicking here

Those who wish to participate in the climb can contact Ciaran Brady at or Andy on 0876994947. A bus will leave from Laragh carpark, those wanting a seat must make contact before August 15.