The late Harry Blake
The funeral took place this afternoon in Letterkenny of Harry Blake, the highly respected and much-loved publican, who passed away on Thursday. He was 82.
Addressing mourners at his funeral mass in St Eunan's Cathedral, Fr Eamonn Kelly spoke of Harry's love of sport, and in particular, his love of all things GAA.
Fr Kelly said that Harry was born and raised in Letterkenny and worked in the Nestles factory. He changed jobs when he and his late wife, Marie, went into the bar business at 50 Upper Main Street.
"That change in career seemed to help Harry grow in personality," Fr Kelly commented, adding that he loved working with his beloved wife until her death some 26 years ago.
Fr Kelly said that Harry had been a life-long member of the Pioneer Association and had never taken a drink.
The chief celebrant, who was assisted by Fr Willie McMenamin, said Harry enjoyed an odd flutter on the horses and made his selections based on the name of a horse that reminded him of something or someone, as opposed the the form the horse was showing. He revealed that a horse ran on Saturday afternoon, entitled 'One For Harry'. A few of his friends and relations decided to back the horse over the weekend, and it won at odds of 9/1.
Harry was a lifelong member of St Eunan's GAA Club and represented both club and county on the football fields with honour and distinction.
Members of St Eunan's GAA Club formed guards of honour as his remains were taken to and from St Eunan's Cathedral.
Paying tribute to Harry, St Eunan's described him as a great club man.
"Harry wore the black and amber of St. Eunan's with great distinction along with the green and gold of Donegal. A mere teenager when we won our first senior championship in 1948. Harry was an integral member of our 1956 senior championship team that claimed our second title when Ballyshannon were defeated by 0-8 to 1-2, with Harry lining out at right half forward."
The club added: "It was a golden period for our club in terms of competing for county league and championship titles. Four league titles were claimed during the 1950's and several county championship final appearances to go with that 1956 title. It's no surprise that Harry, and many of his team mates from this era, are immortal in the history of St. Eunan's through our Hall of Fame.
"Harry loved St. Eunan's and Blake's Bar has long-since been enshrined with Eunan's memorabilia that forms a talking point and trip down memory lane on many's a night for the punters. And Harry was always willing to talk football be it Eunan's or Donegal."
Harry, who was predeceased by his wife, Mari, and sister, Eileen, is survived by his sons Joe, Raymond, Kevin, David, daughter Ita, brothers Liam and Eunan, sisters Rosie (Sligo), Mary (Greene, Letterkenny), daughters-in-law Julia and Anne, grandchildren Peter, Jack, Harry and Annie, and a wide circle of family and friends.
Sympathy is extended to all on their sad loss.