Despite living with terminal cancer for 15 years, Eimir Martin gave no thought to dying – instead, she chose to live life to the fullest, one day at a time.

The community in Lisnaskea where she grew up and lived has been plunged into grief following the death of the 35-year-old, with the ripple effect of this young woman’s life something that can be felt right across the county and beyond.

She will be fondly remembered by the parents of some of the babies she helped to enter the world as a midwife in the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), having served there for three years as a staff midwife, and having undertaken her three years of training in the hospital.

The messages from the parents of some of those babies have meant a great deal to her family.

“It was lovely hearing from mummies who said she was with them, who said she was natural, caring and she did what she could [while working with them].

“Everyone has so much good to say about Eimir, but Eimir had so much goodness and she gave it to everyone,” said Eimir’s sister, Áine.

The professionalism that she brought to her job saw Eimir recognised by Queen’s University Belfast, where she was awarded Trainee Midwife of The Year in the final year of her studies.

Remembering the pride felt by the family, her sister said: “We weren’t at all surprised about that, because she just gave everything.”

Eimir began her professional life as a teacher, but her studies were interrupted shortly before she turned 21 when she received a diagnosis of kidney cancer.

Determination was a constant in Eimir’s life, and she pressed on to finish her degree, Áine said.

“She was at the Ranch [St. Mary’s College, Belfast], still getting chemo, still getting her degree.”


Eimr’s family was determined to help her reach that goal.

“Mammy and daddy used to drive her up every day to class in Belfast. She said she was determined to finish it, and then she taught at St. Ninnidh’s Primary School, Derrylin,” explained Áine.

Áine also recalled their school days and how her sister “pestered” her teachers in Mount Lourdes Grammar School to form a Gaelic football team.

“Eimir would have played back in primary school in St. Ronan’s, Lisnaskea, partnering up in midfield with Claire Woods, and would have won there.

“She was involved in setting up the football team in Mount Lourdes, pestering Mr. Heggarty to get that sorted.

“Eimir was in Sixth Year in school, I was in Seventh, and it was the first year we had a football team in Mount Lourdes, and we won an All-Ireland in our first year competing!

“She was a corner forward, and she was a natural.

“Eimir played for St. Mary’s as well, and Fermanagh, and she played with Lisnaskea when she could. In the club, she was part of the team that won their first-ever Ulster final and it was against Crossmaglen that night, and she won Player of The Match, and she was thrilled she got it.”

Áine recalled a tragic coincidence to the victory the following year.

“Maria O’Donnell played on that Crossmaglen team and a year later, it was actually Maria who was in radiography in Belfast, and realised it was the same Eimir she was treating after playing against her a year before, and then having to give her radiotherapy up there.”

The Martin family will also cherish their memories of their daughter and sister, Eimir, who was a doting auntie, and a “second mammy to Oliver and Adam, her two nephews”.

Recalling her sister’s devotion to her nephews, Áine said: “She’d have lifted them from school; homework was done first, her teacher side came out, and it was done perfectly, no shortcuts.”

Eimir bore her illness with her trademark determination, her sister said: “She never once complained or gave out about being sick; she always wanted to be normal, to fit in, or not be treated differently.”

Remembering her sister she said: “She was loyal, inspirational, caring, strong and very witty – she came out with one-liners – and she always knew what to say.”

In her final days, Eimir enjoyed time with her family, including her nephews.

She bought new clothes and had a fashion show with her sister and mother, and enjoyed boxty for breakfast on Saturday morning.

Eimir was taken ill on Saturday evening, and was taken to the SWAH, where she died surrounded by her family on Monday.

Remembering her sister’s attitude to life, Áine concluded: “She had no thought for dying, she just was living, taking one day at a time, and seeing how she got on.

“She has left a massive void. We have made and created so many memories for us to treasure and hold onto.”

Eimir’s funeral will take place today (Thursday, November 16) at Holy Cross Church, Lisnaskea.

Eimir is survived by her parents, Geraldine and Vincent; her brothers, Tony and Brian; sister Áíne; her nephews, Oliver and Adam; and a wide circle of family and friends.