remains of Lady Sarah's Homestead lie opposite Burkes
Public Bar, sign posted at the entrance to Rathoma Road.
monument to Sir Alexander and Lady Fleming (picture
above) was unveiled by their son Dr Robert Fleming in
August 2001. The monument includes a bronze bust of
the couple sculptured by Rory Breslin and Tim Morris
of Foxford, Co Mayo.
Sarah McElroy was born in Kilfian on 28th May 1881,
and after leaving school she and her twin sister, Elizabeth,
went to Australia and trained as nurses. Sarah returned
to spend some time nursing in Dublin, before moving
to London, where she distinguished herself in the nursing
profession and established her own Nursing Home. It
was here that she became acquainted with the young Scottish
doctor, Alexander Fleming.
The couple was married in the Church of Saint Charles
Burroneo, Ogle Street, London, on 23rd December 1915.
Dr. Fleming was serving in France as an Officer in the
Royal Army Medical Corps at the time. Alexander Fleming
had seen so much loss of limb and life, resulting from
bacterial infection during the war, that he was driven
by a desire to find a cure. During his many years of
painstaking research, often without support from the
world of science Lady Sarah was his most ardent supporter.
Sarah predeceased her husband, passing away on 28th
October 1949. She is buried in Hellingdon Cemetery,
London. He died in 1955, and is buried in St. Paul's
Robert Fleming spoke of his visits to Kilfian in the
1930's, at the unveiling of the memorial to his parents.
He had a clear recollection of the farm workers 'gaffing'
salmon in the local river. He also recalled Lacken Strand
and a fishing trip on a boat out to sea with a local
family from Ballina.
know my father was happy on these visits, as it was
a similar environment to his childhood on the Scottish
Robert Fleming wrote in a commemorative booklet launched
on the occasion.