A great era came to an end for Edgeworthstown recently with the sad passing of Gertie McEnroe.
A native of Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, Gertie and her late husband, Paddy, were synonymous with the old Auburn Hall which had been at the heart of the local community for close on fifty years.
The old Auburn hall stood proudly on Pound St, next door to Gertie’s picturesque house, for as long as many of us can remember. It was then demolished to make way for the impressive Auburn Place development in the noughties.
Over the years it was owned and ran by Gertie and husband , Paddy with the help and support of their family. Today Edgeworthstown has a state of the art community centre but back it was the Auburn Hall where it all happened.
For decades it hosted weekly bingo and would have been the venue for a very successful Longford Town FC bingo fundraiser for many years. It was also the location where all the local pantos and concerts were staged. And as the disco craze swept the nation, the old Auburn Hall had the distinction of hosting the first ever disco in Edgeworthstown.
Several older locals will also remember that the Longford Harriers Hunt Ball would have been held there on a number of occasions whilst a number of the showbands would also have played concerts there. For the McEnroe children, every night was a mix of an adventure and hard work behind the scenes as they helped out in the shop or looked after the clean-up.
A constant throughout all was Gertie. She was there to turn the heat up, change the fuses, get the lights fixed and sort any problems with the water of whatever else might prop up. Everything she did with a heart and a half. For many years the Auburn was also the venue for the old Edgeworthstown district court sitting, which was held there once a month. Older members of the Leader staff have fond memories of Gertie on those days and will always recall her kindness and courtesy with great affection.
Community was fiercely important to Gertie and she was your arch-typical good neighbour. If she couldn’t do a good turn then she certainly didn’t do a bad one. So often over the years herself and Paddy were there to help neighbours and friends in time of need or distress and their quiet generosity was never forgotten.
Gertie was a deeply religious woman and was a regular mass goer in the local St Mary’s Church until very recently. She played a very active part in all aspects of church life and was one of the key women who came to the fore when anything needed to be done at the church. And despite being a very busy woman, Gertie immersed herself in all aspects of the local community. A founder member of the Credit Union in Edgeworthstown, she was to the fore in the Community Games movement and several other local organisations, as well as being a great supporter of the local GAA club. Indeed if you wanted something done then you went to Gertie. She would also have been the local correspondent for the Longford News for many years.
But first and foremost Gertie was a loving and devoted wife and mother. She always put family first and left no stone unturned as she raised their six children. She was fiercely proud of them all and brimmed with pride when any of the 17 grandchildren or five great grandchildren were around. Community and family were everything to Gertie.
Up until last summer Gertie was enjoying the best of health and she was an advertisement for hardwork. Sadly her time with us came to an end after almost ninety-one years but she leaves behind a wonderful legacy of commitment and devotion to her family and local community.
The late Gertie McEnroe passed away peacefully on Monday, January 23, 2017, at Mullingar regional hospital and her passing is sadly missed by her son, Joseph; daughters, Lorraine, Evelyn, Grainne and Paula; sons-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren; her sisters, Sr Evelyn and Doreen; her brother, Malachy; nieces, nephews, extended family, neighbours and many friends. Her remains reposed at her home on Pound St before being brought to the local St Mary’s Church in Edgeworthstown for Mass of the Resurrection and burial afterwards in Aughafin cemetery.