Irene ‘Reenie’ Wills

image of Irene wills

Irene at Dublin Bull Show in 1957

Having recovered from Pat Armstrong’s death, Irene married on 26 July 1919 Wilfred Francis Herbert Watson (b. 1892), who like Pat, was from County Tipperary and lived at Ballingarrane House near Clonmel. The couple’s only child, Sidney John Watson, was born in 1920.

Pat Armstrong’s insistence on Irene taking an interest in riding lessons was to pay rich dividend, for her husband was a keen huntsman and for a time secretary and treasurer of the Tipperary Hunt. Tragically, Wilfred met an untimely end when he fell from his horse and dislocated his spine during a hunt on 7 December 1929. He died within minutes of the accident with Irene by his side.

Following her husband’s death, Irene remained in County Tipperary. On 6 November 1933, she married her neighbour, Lieutenant Commander William Bagwell (1905-1979) of Marlfield, Clonmel. The couple had two children, Hugh William (b. 1934) and Pamela Eve Irene (b. 1938). Throughout her life, Irene maintained a passionate involvement in equine sports. In 1930, she was elected to the Committee of the Clonmel Horse Show and Agricultural Society as its first ever female member. Eighteen years later, she was elected the Society’s first female president.

Irene died suddenly in her sleep at her home in Marlfield on 6 September 1965, aged 69. She is buried in the graveyard of Marlfield Church, County Tipperary.