ENNISCORTHY has learned with much regret of the passing of Bridget (Pidge) Hayes, who died on New Year's Day in Wexford General Hospital after a period of illness at the age of 79.
She was known to generations of townspeople and folk from the surrounding district for her presence behind the counter of TJ Hayes's family shop in Court Street. She worked in the business, which was first established in the 1880s, from childhood up to the time of her retirement a decade ago, when she moved to her own house not far away in Gurteen.
Pidge was reared to retail, one of a family of five raised in Court Street by Tommy and Bridie Hayes. The shop she grew up in had a thriving bakery and a coalyard but the demands of business changed over the years. By the time she stepped down, it was still a grocery, but also specialising in dog feed and pet supplies. She worked there for many decades with her brother, the late Thomas Hayes and his wife Joan.
In her younger days she found time to play a variety of sports - hockey, tennis, badminton and golf included. The experience spawned a lifelong interest in all matters sporting, especially occasions that had a local interest. She followed the great Wexford hurling teams of the 50s and 60s with passion and her enthusiasm abided up to the Katie Taylor era.
Another enduring obsession of this most energetic woman was politics. Following the lead from her father, who was a member - and eight times chairman - of the urban council in Enniscorthy, she was a loyal member of Fine Gael. Discussion of politics was the one sure way of drawing Pidge out of her shell, for she was generally a very quiet and reserved person.
She had an abiding interest in family. Not only did she enjoy clan gatherings but she also took delight in tracing every branch of the family tree.
Funeral Mass last Thursday was celebrated for this most devout of parishioners in the familiar surroundings of St. Aidan's Cathedral. The service was conducted by her cousin Father James Cullen. Pidge was predeceased by her sister Nellie (Sister Perpetua), and by her brothers Thomas and Tim. She is mourned by her brother Jack, by her nieces and nephews, and by sistersin-law, Betty, Joan and Marguerite as she now lies interred in St. Mary's cemetery.