The late Nan Brennan
There was an eerie but respectful silence on Bundoran's Main Street early on Monday morning last as the hall door of Brennan's Bar opened allowing the hundreds of mourners in to pay their final farewells to the much loved Nan Brennan.
Hundreds of people from far and wide queued along the lengthy street to pay their respects to a woman who had left her own very special footprint on a town that she herself loved so well.
Nan had one final request before she passed away - she wished to be waked in the bar that she had spent all her life and her sister Patricia gladly honoured her final wishes.
Surrounded by photographs, cards, mementoes Nan lay serenely against a backdrop of a bar that was indeed her pride and joy and indeed her home for all of her life.
Placed by her side were her famous dancing shoes; she just adored high heels and a simple red tie belonging to her dancing partner of many years, Brian Maguire
Nan Brennan (81) passed away peacefully on Sunday afternoon surrounded by her family, close friends and neighbours who had remained with her throughout her illness.
News of her death evoked an unprecedented outpouring of sadness not just at home but across the globe. Brennan's Bar and Nan and Paricia were not just publicans - they were an institution, an integral part of Bundoran's folklore and tradition.
It was remarked that in Nan's life time up on a million people may have passed through this unique pub which also served as a home for the two sisters, all leaving with fond memories.
Many stories were told throughout the day recounting some of the more memorable incidents, the day the large tyre of a passing truck exploded and blew the hundred year old window of the snug shattered leaving those inside thinking they were the victims of a terror attack. Nan's dancing classes in the parlour where many gathered to practise their steps, the music and drama meetings, but most of all the art of conversation which was never lost.
Nan followed in the tradition of her parents who had been running this pub since 1900 in ensuring that it remained a place of conversation. There were no televisions, no blaring music and above all no F words. It was a place for people to enjoy their drinks sensibly with the enjoyment of shared conversation.
One neighbour remarked “If you wanted the news there was no need to buy the Democrat, the Brennan's always had it first.”
Nan and Patricia were an independent couple and took the task of running a busy bar seriously - they often refused help in changing the heavy kegs, were often seen climbing the stepladder to restock the top shelf and polishing the old wood with the old fashioned “Cardinal” polish.
At 5.00 pm on Monday evening Nan left the Criterion Bar for the final time. Once again the streets of Bundoran were lined with people all the way down to the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea where Canon Ramon Munster welcomed her remains.
Canon Munster told the packed congregation, “ We all know about Brenna's Bar but there are sides to Nan that many will not know.
“She loved the social scene and had a great passion for dancing, donning her high heels and attending many functions with her sister Patricia and her dancing partner, the late Brian Maguire.
“She was an integral part of the music and drama societies down at St. Patrick's Hall and a religious and generous person never missing the 8.00 am Mass on Sunday morning.
“Both were avid travellers and had travelled to many parts of the globe on cruises including Cuba, the Caribbean and throughout Europe. They were just like two peas in a pod.
“Last week Patricia told me that Nan would pass away on the 13th and she did. It was her dying wish to be laid to rest on the Feast of the Assumption. Her wish was indeed granted and without a doubt there will be a great get together in Heaven as she meets up with some of her great friends who have gone before her.
“Perhaps on a more comical note, I often observed Nan putting her head through the little window in the snug giving counsel to visiting and local surfers, businessmen and visitors to the town.
“It reminded me of the Confessional Box but people leaving always had a smile one their faces,” he joked
Nan Brennan's contribution to Bundoran will never be forgotten, she has set an example for the future generations. A wealth of knowledge and a great source of history providing information to visitors trying to trace their roots She simply was a Bundoran woman through and through
Canon Munster paid tribute to the neighbours who had helped Patricia over the last number of weeks. “It was Nan's wish to die at home and that closely knit band of neighbours ensured her wishes would indeed be granted. They never left her side.”
Nan is survived by her sisters Patricia and Cait, her brother in law Sean, niece and nephew Brid and Seamus , her wonderful neighbours, customers and friends.