Mai’s Many Days

Pictured above: Mai Geldof (Source: Irish Times)

Pictured above: Mai Geldof (Source: Irish Times)

Sandymount said goodbye to its oldest resident, Mai Geldof, on January 2nd last. Aunt to Bob Geldof, she was sister to his father, Bob senior, who lived to age 95. Mai died peacefully in the home she had lived in all her life.

Speaking at her removal, Bob Geldof remembered the support she had been to him throughout his youth. “She was a mega woman.”

His late aunt (105), who provided him with sanctuary, support and hot cups of Bovril following the sudden death of his mother Evelyn when he was seven years old, was a remarkable woman and a well-regarded dressmaker.

“She was an incredible woman,” said niece Jenny Geldof. “She lived most of her life on Strand Road but had so many adventures. She was a champion fisher, saw the Nazis march into Austria during WWII, learnt how to drive when she was in her 70s, and referred to her magnifying glass as her ‘MI5’.”

Born Mary Eileen in 1909, she was known to close family and friends as Fifi, a name mirrored in her grand niece, Fifi Trixibelle, the media shy daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, born in 1983.

She had a bird’s eye view of a most eventful century and held an early memory of the burning of the Customs House from the steps of her Dublin home in 1921. With her elder sister Cléo she roared into the capital city along with the 1920s, working in the family’s Patisserie Belge on Leinster Street and selling Sweepstake Tickets to fund their wild road trips across Europe. They quickly became the notable trendsetters of the time.

She set up a dressmaking salon in Wicklow Street, attracting admired customers including Maud Gonne and Constance Markiewicz.

Her removal took place at the parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace on Merrion Road, where she was fittingly described as a woman who “seemed to find time for everything.”

By Maria Shields O’Kelly