By Tommy McGrath
Two regular visitors to the holiday resort of Kilkee after WWII stayed for 3 months each summer and continued their visits up until the early 60s. These ladies fascinated the locals and holidaymaker alike due to their dress and unusual behaviours. They dressed in a ‘nun-like’ habit which was different to what the locals were used to as it was all in white with a large head gear that pertruded out over their faces. Some locals said while they did not converse with anyone but sometimes stopped young girls and advised them against a confined life in religion. This made locals uneasy as they saw it as a threat to the catholic religion.
They were biological sisters from Enniskillen Co Fermanagh and their names were Evelyn and Ann Dundas. They first stayed in Brews Lodge Victoria terrace and shopped in Kents shop in O’Curry St (now the Central Stores). They later stayed in O’Doherty’s house in O’Doherty’s Terrace (beside Methodist church) and shopped in what was later known as the West End Stores. Their last holiday residence was the lodge over Josephine Nolan and Michael Burkes shop in O’Curry St. and shopped in Talty’s shop in O’Connell St (now Hayes supermarket).
Paddy Nolan remembers as a young student delivering meat for his father to the ladies and getting a 6 pence tip which would’ve been quite generous. He also describes his sisters lodge ready for letting but after the two sisters took up residence they painted everything in white, walls, stairways, ceilings and doors, chairs, tables, and hall front door even the step outside turned white.
Sean Carney worked in Talty’s shop all his life and remembers them well. He describes their accents as funny and hard to understand but said they were always very nice to him and always gave him a tip before leaving Kilkee. He describes the all-white outfits as spotless with white shoes, gloves, shopping bags and one year they even had 2 small white dogs with them. Sean also described how they loved bad weather and during a thunder storm would dance and sing outside under the storm with outstretched arms looking up to the thunder clouds even at night. If the sea was rough they would stay in Kilkee for longer and as the waves crashed over the pier and against the sea wall they would dance and sing in joyous manner.
They had a brother who took them to Kilkee and collected them at the end of the season. He also took care of any outstanding bills.