Anne Sheeran’s impact remembered by people and groups across north Wexford

The late Anne (Nancy) Sheeran.

Amy LewisGorey Guardian

The impact of Anne Sheeran’s kindness, generosity and determination is sure to be felt for a long time to come within the many organisations that she helped to found and the many communities in which she played a part.

Anne, of Craan, Craanford, who was known as Nancy, died on April 25 at Castle Gardens Nursing Home in Enniscorthy at the age of 98.

Anne became known worldwide as the inspiration behind grandson Ed Sheeran’s 2017 hit ‘Nancy Mulligan’ but prior to this, she was a legend in her own right in her local community.

At her funeral mass in Monaseed on Wednesday, a guard of honour was held by Courtown Golf Club and Gorey Boxing Club – two organisations that are what they are today thanks to Anne’s generosity and dedication.

Anne and Bill put huge effort into establishing Gorey Boxing Club, fundraising to buy a building and organise tournaments. Anne served as Secretary of the Club for 25 years and later as Chairperson. She had a huge impact on Gorey boxer Niall Kennedy, who first met her when he was eight-years-old.

"I started boxing in 1991 and that is when I got to know Anne and Bill. Anne was very involved in fundraising at the club and was always interested in every young person there,” he said.

"I would say her greatest impact on me came later in life. It is lovely to look at someone and learn that, by treating people well and looking after everyone, you can still do the best you can. Her good nature was unbelievable. If I picked up anything from her, it was to try to treat people with as much kindness as possible. She was the kindest woman of all time. She was so happy and always smiling. She was a beautiful person.”

Anne continued to support Niall as he reached both boxing and personal milestones.

"I turned pro in 2015 and she was always very supportive. She was on the phone making sure I was ok,” he said. “I’ve a lovely picture of her holding the Massachusetts Title soon after I won it.”

Anne also paid a visit to Niall and his wife Niamh soon after their son MJ was born.

"MJ was in hospital for two months because he was born 12 weeks premature. The week he got home, she came in to visit him,” he explained. “She was just a nanny to everyone and a really, really good person.”

Golf was another passion of Anne’s and she played regularly in Courtown Golf Club. She served as Lady Captain in 1995 and was a founding member of the Past Lady Captains of County Wexford Golf Society. Chairperson of Courtown Golf Club, Vincent Kearney said that she was a highly involved member of the club for 50 years.

“Such was her contribution that, a number of years ago, she was made an honorary life member,” he said, explaining that the club has awarded this honour to only two or three people since its establishment.

“She was a great woman for getting things done and was very active. She always had time for younger members and encouraged them in the sport.”

Mr Kearney added that Anne was also very forward-thinking and heavily promoted the first computerised system they had for golf competitions.

“She was ahead of her time in that way.”

Senator Malcolm Byrne described Anne as “a true lady” who was extremely involved in her community.

"She had a real passion and love for her community, particularly for sport and encouraging young people to participate in sport.

She made an enormous contribution to her community in Monaseed but also to sport, particularly the Gorey Boxing Club and Courtown Golf Club. She would have been a regular attendee at the theatre. Whenever she was looking for help from the council, she was one of the first to look for it but also, the first to thank people for it if it was received.”