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Name: RYAN, Molly Ivers, Mrs

image of individualimage of individual

Nee: Bartley

Birth Date: 1901 Broken Hill, Australia

Death Date: 1993 Kenya

Nationality: Irish

First Date: 1931

Profession: Sheep farmer - sold their farm in 1959

Area: Molo 'Garryowen'

Married: 1931 Christopher Anthony Ryan (1900-1969)

Children: Thadeus 'Thaddy' (1932-2015) who married Lavinia, Bunny Allen's daughter; Terence 'Terry' (1934)

Author: 'Over my Shoulder'

Book Reference: Over my Shoulder, Irish, Hut, Curtis, Thady Ryan

School: Convent du Sacré Coeur, Melbourne, Australia

General Information:

Irish - Mollie came to Kenya from Australia in 1931 and together with her husband Tony Ryan, they very successfully pioneered the breeding of sheep that would yield top quality wool. Highbred rams and ewes were imported from Australia to 'Garryowen' their farm in Molo and a flourishing wool trade was started. 'Garryowen' was situated on the top of a ridge overlooking rolling downs which went down to the Rift Valley below and was ideal for sheep farming. With Mollie's business head and Tony's farming skills they made a great couple, who were not afraid to experiment with cross breeding in order to produce the best. Apart from the farm Mollie also had business interests in Nairobi and was on the board of several companies among which was the Avon Rubber Company where her friend Dr. Gregory was Chairman.
My parents were friends of the Ryan family from 'Emily' Co. Tipperary so when Kevin and I came to Kenya in 1949 we were armed with an introduction to the Ryans of 'Garryowen'. Mollie immediately took us under her wing and over the years became a true and trusted friend. She had a most outgoing personality full of life and vigour, getting mixed up with all sorts of different groups of people, organising the Molo Hunt, the Molo Races and the Little Theatre Club. The first time I went to 'Garryowen' in 1950 Mollie was rehearsing at the theatre and had gone off with the keys of the drinks cupboard but, nothing daunted, Tony took some fancy miniatures off the shelves above the mantelpiece replacing the contents with cold tea so that 'Moll' would not know. I think 'Moll' was surprised on her return to find us on the verandah drinking our sundowners but she never made any comment.
Kevin had christened Tony 'the gentle Giant' as he was very tall and thin with the most courteous manner and shy charm, a true Irish gentleman in fact. Mollie and Tony retired to Malindi in the sixties and  a few years after Tony's death Mollie returned to live in Nairobi. She was a staunch supporter of the Irish Society generously contributing towards our various charities and, until recently, attending some of our functions. Molly was a truly unusual and wonderful character and those of us who knew her sadly mourn her passing. - Ruth Hogan
Curtis - p. 108 - 'Sheep at Molo' by Molly Ryan - ' ..... One early settler, almost in despair at his continuous and shocking losses, suddenly had a brainwave - human beings died of sunstroke, why not sheep? So he sent to Italy for 4000 tiny straw hats which he firmly fixed to his sheeps heads. Alas no photographic evidence, but I believe the story to be true. .….

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