Tributes have poured in for Ailish Tracey after the mother-of-three lost her long battle with cancer over the weekend.
Ailish had run a successful business in New Ross for the past 30 years and was a familiar face to not just her own customers, but to other traders along South Street and the rest of the town.
Niall Bennett runs H20 Creative Hair, which is situated just a few doors up from Ailish's Beauty and Laser Salon, and he said her passing was like losing a member of the family for those who worked alongside her.
'She'd have been my neighbour since I moved in here 19 years ago. My wife was one of her clients. She was a good neighbour, and would always be there for the businesses in the area,' said Niall.
'She was a lovely lady, always wore a smile, was always good-humoured and had a positive outlook. I was devastated when I heard the news, I knew it was coming but when the message came through over the weekend the realisation she was gone hit me.
'I always found her to be straight to the point, and she was great company. She is a big loss, all the businesses here have been here with a long time, we're like a little family, and it's like we've lost one of our family now.'
Ailish leaves behind three sons, Sean, David and Steve - and another of her neighbours said she adored those boys.
'She was in every day for her lunch without fail, and we'd always be over and back to her,' said Barbara Sutton of The Bakehouse. 'She brought her own coffee cup, her 'tin can', we'd always ask if she had her 'tin can' with her. She'd get bread for her boys then as well, she loved those boys.'
Because of the lockdown, Barbara, Niall and the other traders in the area didn't get the opportunity to say goodbye to their friend, and indeed Barbara says the last time she saw Ailish was when she was closing up in March.
'The last time I saw her would have been before the lockdown, she was locking up and had her sisters with her, I went over and say goodbye,' Barbara recalls.
'She poured her heart and soul into that business. Even looking across at it now it's tough. She was never the type to complain, always such a positive person, an absolute pleasure to be around.
'If someone needed their eyebrows done she'd bring them over and say "come on, it won't take ten minutes". She never said no to anyone.'
Confirming that she and some of the other business owners had bought a wreath for the Ailish's family, Barbara said they would also visit the Tracey family at the wake in their home in County Carlow.
Offering further sympathies, Margaret Campbell of Campbell's Toys said she would remember Ailish for her 'megawatt smile'.
'Ailish was a very successful businesswoman. She didn't so much walk down the road as much as bounce down it full of positivity and life. Her megawatt smile lit up the path in front of her,' said Margaret. 'We are going to miss her so much and want to pass on our deepest sympathies to all her family.'
Ailish is survived by her husband Eamonn, sons Sean, David and Steve, parents Willie and Alice, sisters and brothers Eileen, Michael, Kathleen, Mary, Joe, Pauline and Aoife, and her adored granddaughter Ella.
In accordance with government guidelines, her Requiem Mass will take place on Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Saint Lazarian's Church, Drumphea, followed by burial in adjoining cemetery.
New Ross Standard