There is widespread sadness following the death of well-known Wexford woman Nan Connors whose recent passing has left an unfillable gap in the lives of her family and many friends.
Nan of Corner House, Drinagh and formerly Sinnottstown Lane, Drinagh was 86 years old and had been in good health up to about two weeks before she died in Wexford General Hospital on November 3, although for the past two years of her life, she had not been out and about as she found more comfort in remaining in her home.
She was buried in St Ibar’s Cemetery, Crosstown after funeral Mass in Bride Street Church, with a large number of people attending her wake in Macken’s Funeral Home over a period of three days.
Nan leaves behind her beloved husband Tommy; her children Christopher, Margaret, Jimmy, Bridget and Mary; her brothers Ned and Andy; her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her sons-in-law and daughters-in-law; her extended family, her neighbours and friends.
She was predeceased by her children Paddy and Michael, by her brothers Mick, Johnnie, Martin and Billy and by her sisters Maggie, Mary, Biddy and Lizzy.
Born into a Traveller family in the Ballymitty/Taghmon area in 1936, Nan’s mother Mary died when she was a young child and she was reared by her grandparents Jim and Biddy. Throughout her life, she returned regularly to the area to visit people she knew.
Her grandfather Jim was a tin ware merchant who made and repaired buckets and tin tea drawers for the farming community in Wexford.
Nan was a brilliant Irish dancer who was still performing jigs, reels and hornpipes at family gatherings up to a few years ago. She was self-taught and when she was younger, she would attend feiseanna to watch the competitors and learn new steps.
She was very artistic person who loved working with her hands. She was great at knitting and sewing and could crochet anything. She produced crochet ponchos for her grandchildren and made curtains on the sewing machine.
She learned how to knit and sew from her grandmother Biddy who made clothes for her beloved granddaughter.
Nan was one of the last people to make the old-fashioned pockets that Traveller women wore to keep their valuables in and would design, sew and embroider them for all her aunts.
She successfully completed health care courses in New Ross and became a Traveller Community Health Worker as part of the Wexford Local Development community health programme, raising awareness of health information and access to health services within the Traveller community, and continued to be involved into her seventies.
Nan was an independent, outgoing, interested and caring person who could talk to anyone. She loved interacting with people and it was one of the reasons she liked being involved in markets and car boot sales, because it gave her a chance to meet and chat to people. She never spoke ill of others.
She was a lovely singer and when she was 75, she was invited to London for the purpose of recording a CD of her talking about her life and singing old traditional songs that she knew.
Above all, Nan was a great mother and grandmother who always looked out for the welfare of her children, grandchildren and extended family. She always made that phone call to enquire how somebody was. If you had a hospital visit, Nan would be the first on the phone to ask how you got on.
Family, friends and neighbours expressed condolences on her passing with many tributes paid on rip.ie “There are certain people that make a significant imprint on one's memory and heart. Nan was that to me she was always welcoming and generous. I still have a red shawl she gave me over 30 years ago that I wear in her honour”, one woman wrote.
A Wexford town couple who knew her wrote: “We knew Nan a lifetime, a beautiful woman, kind and gentle”. Another person said: “Nan was a lovely woman and a good neighbour to both of my grandparents in Sinnottstown Lane.”
"Nan, a lovely lady who always had a kind word”, wrote another mourner.
Nan’s family said they would like to thank everyone for their support and kindness following Nan’s sad passing.