Nicky was a bright, talented man
A LARGE NUMBER of mourners gathered at Bride Street Church last Thursday to bid a sad, final farewell to popular young Wexford man Nicky Barnes.
Nicky (23) had passed away in tragic circumstances at his home, 120 Liam Mellows, the previous Sunday.
His death came as a huge blow to his parents Seán and Geraldine, his brothers Shane, Danny and Adam, his fiancée Maeve Boland, his grandmother Betty Carroll, his extended family and wide circle of friends.
Nicky grew up at 1 Westlands and attended school at The Mercy, St John's Road, before going on to Wexford CBS Primary and Secondary Schools.
From an early age it was clear that Nicky was a bright and talented individual, while he was also a very committed person.
Anything he got involved in he gave it everything he had and he had great leadership qualities, always looking out for others. These qualities were evident on the hurling field where he excelled with the Faythe Harriers as a youngster. Nicky usually lined out in the halfback line and was an outstanding performer who went on to represent Wexford at underage level for a number of years.
He stopped playing following a back injury sustained at minor level, but had just got back playing with the Wexford town club this year and everyone there was delighted to welcome him back to the fold.
Nicky was also hugely involved with hunting and coursing from a young age. He loved being out in the great outdoors and enjoyed many weekends coursing with his family. He was a prominent member of Wexford Coursing Club.
In recent years he had become involved with Republican Sinn Féin and was a very active member in Wexford. He took part in the recent 24-hour fast to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the H Block hunger strikes.
Nicky was very proud of his county, his country and Irish culture in general. He had recently begun taking steps to learn Irish again. He also took an active role in the bi-centennial celebrations of the 1798 rebellion throughout 1998, participating in various pike marches.
The President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton, spoke at Nicky's funeral. He praised the young Wexford man as someone who never sat on the sidelines and watched on, but got involved in things he believed in. Nicky's dedication and determination were also reflected in his job. He worked as a plumber with Dick Kelly from a young age, serving his apprenticeship there. Though Nicky was passionate about many things, nothing came before his love for his family. He was a real family man and would do anything for his parents or his three younger brothers, of whom he was very proud. The love of his life was his fiancée Maeve. The couple met when they were just teenagers and had been together for seven years.
The great respect and admiration that those who knew Nicky had for him was reflected by the large attendance at his Requiem Mass in Bride Street Church last Thursday.
Friends travelled from the UK and even as far away as Australia to come home and say goodbye to him at the funeral, where Guards of Honour were provided by the Faythe Harriers, Wexford Coursing Club and Republican Sinn Féin.