'Danny Boy' rings out as Julia is laid to rest
MOURNERS AT the graveside of former Wexford shop owner Julia Lacey joined together in a spontaneous rendition of 'Danny Boy', a gesture which was perfect for a woman who was blessed with a beautiful singing voice.
Julia (nee Roche) was known to many as the familiar face behind the counter at the small corner shop in Talbot Street where she sold everything from groceries and sweets to pipe cleaners and Lifebuoy soap. Her shop is still there today.
Born on June 8, 1916 to Patrick and Johanna Roche, The Shannon, Enniscorthy, Julia enjoyed an idyllic childhood, growing up with her three sisters and two brothers under the shadow of Vinegar Hill.
There were Sunday outings to Ballyconnigar in the pony and trap, picnics and camogie games in their big field behind the house and little plays and concerts presented by herself and neighbouring children under the old archway. Admission was free.
Being blessed with a beautiful singing voice was a gift which gave her many hours of happiness throughout her life, as part of St. Senan's Church Choir, singing in Feiseanna and being an active and enthusiastic member of Enniscorthy Light Opera Society.
Despite never having taken a piano lesson, she still succeeded in entertaining family and friends, ' playing by ear', as she would say.
When she met and married her beloved husband Jimmy who hailed from Barntown, they moved to Wexford town where Julia opened her shop in 1950.
Sadly, their happiness together was all too brief. Following a short illness in 1960, during which he retired from the Loch Garman Co-op Society, Jim died at the early age of 49.
Despite her great loss, Julia continued to run her business and to raise their three schoolgoing daughters. In time, she was joined and cherished by sons-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was the heart of the family and her family was everything to her. For her grandchildren, her house in town was a refuge, especially at exam times when it seemed that half the local school turned up for soup and sandwiches.
She adored her grandchildren and they her and they kept in close contact throughout the years.
Many happy summers were spent together in Rosslare Strand and holidaying across the length and breadth of the country.
Her grandchildren's long and frequent visits to her bedside with songs and stories in her last weeks, brought her great joy and comfort.
From an early age, Julia had a keen sense of style and a fondness for a touch of glamour. Meticulous in her appearance, she would not consider leaving the house without being properly adorned and would sometimes return for her forgotten ear-rings. She loved jewellery and hats. Her whispered ' the good stitch' was meant to convey all.
Following her retirement, she spent happy times in the Active Retirement Association and Wexford Ladies Club, enjoying the company of her many friends on various activities and holidays.
Her weekly trip to seek her fortune playing Bingo was not to be missed, notwithstanding her frequent announcement of 'no luck tonight'.
God also gifted Julia with a life of good health and a wonderful good-natured disposition. Her beautiful smile which shone in her eyes was a constant.
She died as she had lived, in peace and happiness, with her daughters beside her.
A large number of people called to her home where she lay in repose and also attended her funeral Mass, including old customers and neighbours and the children of those long gone, who remembered a lady running her corner shop with cheerfulness, honesty and dignity towards those who struggled in hard times.
Her remains were received into Bride Street Church to the strains of Boolavogue and following an uplifting Homily by Fr. Aodhan Marken and singing by Therese Harnett, she was laid to rest in Crosstown Cemetery, re-united with her dearest Jimmy.
Julia is survived by her daughters Marie, Imelda and Olive; sons-in-law Toddy Power and John Doyle; her grandchildren Niall, Sinead, James, Alan, Barry and Gillian; her great-grandchildren Emma, Eve and Jamie.
She was predeceased by her sisters Molly, Kathleen and Bridie and her brothers William and Patrick.