The late Annie Friel
The wonderful words of “Gweebara Bay” rang out as of one of Raphoe’s most loved business women was laid to rest on Friday last.
Well known publican and hotelier, Mrs. Annie Friel, née Naoise, passed away on Tuesday, November 15th, aged 94.
The funeral Mass was one of the biggest that the town has ever seen. The town came to a standstill due to the huge crowds that were in attendance, while students from local schools formed a guard of honour as the cortege made its way to the church.
“She was a great lady, everybody knew and liked her,” Father William McMenamin said.
Annie was born in Lettermacaward in 1922. As a young girl, she went to work in Portrush and Coleraine. From there she went to Glasgow where she met her late husband Paddy.
The couple married in November, 1954.
They returned to Raphoe where they opened Friel’s Bar and Restaurant on a Fair day on November 4, 1954.
Mrs. Friel was known as great worker. She baked fresh scones in the early morning and worked up until Sunday, November 13, last.
Friel’s was an exceptionally popular venue and was the place in which many couples married and celebrated their most important occasions.
Friel’s would have also catered for the needs of those who came to the area seeking lodgings, doctors, teachers and business people would have stayed in the friendly hotel.
Her funeral Mass took place at St. Eunan’s Church, Raphoe on Friday.
The Mass was celebrated by Father William McMenamin, the Mass was concelebrated by Monsignor Dan Carr, Cannon Dinny McGettigan, Father Stephen O’Gorman and Father Hugh Hanlon.
Fr. McMenamin described Mrs. Friel “as a lady that everybody knew and liked.”
He added that the town will certainly “miss her.”
As her remains left her home the bells of the Church of Ireland rang out reminding people of their great loss.
All denominations attended her wake and funeral, which people from across the county attended.
Mrs. Friel was well known for her regular attendance at funerals and wakes who was described as a lady who “had a kind and caring nature.”
Mrs. Friel is survived by her daughters, Mary, Rose, Majella, Patricia and her son John, her sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, her brother Sean, her grandchildren, great grandchildren and all her family and huge circle of friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dhíl.