Lives lost to Covid-19: Ann Hyland embraced life

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This article is one of a series on people who have died from the coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. You can read more here. If you would like a friend or family member to be included in the series, please send an email [email protected]

Ann Hyland 1948 – 2021

Ann Hyland embraced life. If there is anything she can do, she tried: ride a camel in Morocco, jet ski in Barbados, climb the Great Wall of China, “Amtraked” across America, fly a plane. She cried watching the annual Tossa de Mar fireworks display.

It was the life of one of the first flight attendants in the glamorous aviation era of the 1970s. Ann successfully applied for Aer Lingus and has traveled the world. A 21 year old woman with wide eyes and a heart turned to the sky, her bubbly and outgoing personality made her the perfect choice.

Over the years, she has seen New York, Chicago, Montreal, San Diego and much of Europe. But of all his discoveries, his most important was a handsome tanned passenger immediately recognizable as a regular at Dublin’s Switzer cafe.

“Back then, the number one stewardess rule was not to give passengers your phone number,” her daughter Lorna-Jane recalls. “Rule number one was broken that day.”

Barely six months later, as Ann stepped off a flight from Birmingham to Dublin Airport, Bill Hyland was waiting in the parking lot on his knees. “It’s about time,” Ann told him.

She met Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, but hasn’t told him she was a Beatles girl since the day she went to see them at Dublin Airport.

On April 4, 1972, the couple married in front of friends and family at Dublin Airport Church. “She believed every word of her wedding vows and proved it for 49 happy years,” said Lorna-Jane.

Born in May 1948 to Bill McGeown and Helen Chant, life began in an apartment on Wicklow Street before the family moved to Churchtown and later to her grandfather’s house on Old Cabra Road. Eventually, his father found his dream home in The Ward.

She attended school at Wesley College on St Stephen’s Green. Even though her parents had high hopes for her on the hockey field, they were not shared by Ann. Her choice of position was goalie, in large part because she didn’t have to run anywhere. She let the ball go past her into the net before catching the bus back home.

She had big green eyes and matching jewelry. She wrote a children’s book. She met Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, but hasn’t told him she was a Beatles girl since the day she went to see them at Dublin Airport.

Years later, she would have a family of her own. In 1979, Aimée-Louise arrived, followed in 1982 by Lorna-Jane. They lived in Glasnevin until 2019. His home was his pride and joy; the neighbors would say she was vacuuming the grass.

Ann and Bill eventually moved to an apartment in Percy Place where they reveled in the city life. Just a year ago, her grandson Rafferty was born. She liked him; made him bounce on his knees; pushed him along the Grand Canal and together they discovered the ducks and swings in Ranelagh Park.

In early January of this year, Ann and Bill tested positive for Covid-19. Ann was admitted to St Vincent‘s University Hospital later that month. She passed away peacefully in the arms of her husband and daughters on February 16, 2021.


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