Una McBarron with members of the GIY at the official opening of a new therapeutic garden at the Breffni Care Centre in 2019.

Tribute to Una - a ‘big’ character ‘badly missed’

Una McBarron sadly passed away last October in her 104th year

The town of Ballyconnell and surrounding areas mourned the loss of the area's oldest citizen earlier this year, Una McBarron, who sadly passed away last October in her 104th year.

“Everyone loved Auntie Una, and she had great time for people as well,” remembers Gail McCoy, paying tribute to her great aunt.

Perhaps best known for her role in running popular local haunt, McBarron's Bar, the public house was owned by her brother at a time when Una was working as a children's nurse in Galway.

However, she returned to live in her native Ballyconnell to help raise the children when Michael's wife died, and later took over caring for both the business and household after Michael too passed away. “That was her nature. She was a very giving person,” remembers Gail.

Gail describes her great-aunt as a “big character” who was heavily involved the community from Tidy Towns to Whist and Bridge. She was also a woman of strong faith and was very involved in the local church, as well as making several pilgrimages to places such as Knock, Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje.

“She had many friends, she worked in the bar, was involved in the community. When she got older and her nephew Seamus took over the running of the bar, she lived in a little house next to it, and she'd have plenty of visitors there as well.”

Remarkably, it was only as her health deteriorated further that Una moved to live as a resident at the Breffni Care Centre.

Even then, the visitors kept coming for the hugely popular Una.

Una also made headlines in her latter years.

She was the guest of honour, cutting the ribbon, when the local Grow It Yourself group landscaped a new social and therapeutic garden at the care centre in 2019. More recently, Una was the first person in residential services for Older People in Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “It is a privilege to have it,” said Una at the time. “I want to thank all of the staff in Breffni for looking after us so well and keeping us safe from this virus.”

Back in October, she then got her booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

“She was a real country woman. This was her home, Ballyconnell. She lived and breathed it.... She was a well thought of and well respected lady in town. She's badly missed,” said her great niece.

Una McBarron died October 22 at the Breffni Care Centre, Ballyconnell. “They were so good to her there,” says Gail of the centre staff.

Her passing is deeply regretted by her loving nephew, nieces, relatives and friends.

She was laid to rest at the adjoining cemetery following funeral mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ballyconnell.