Greystones locals pay tribute as well-known shopkeeper is laid to rest
For 62 years, Mrs Mooney stood behind her Wicklow counter selling sweets and groceries
Bridie Mooney of Mooney’s Shop, Trafalgar Road, Greystones: locals line out for her funeral. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
A round of applause broke out in Greystones as the coffin of Bridie Mooney was carried the short distance from the Co Wicklow shop where she worked and lived for more than six decades to her local church.
Townspeople and local businesses had been asked to dim their lights and observe a minute’s silence at 1pm as the bells of the Church of the Holy Rosary were sounded.
At 1.01pm, as her family shouldered the coffin and a garda stood to attention, throngs of people socially distanced along the street clapped to show their respect.
For 62 years, Mrs Mooney – who was either a “legend” or “an institution” depending on which mourners you spoke to – had stood behind the counter of her traditional shop on Trafalgar Road, selling groceries, coal, newspapers and cigarettes.
Most importantly, for six decades of children who attended the nearby St Brigid’s and St David’s schools, she sold sweets, lemonade, crisps, ice cream and chocolate. Smiles and wisdom were given out free.
Sadness and nostalgia
In 2015, Mrs Mooney, a former Greystones Person of the Year, announced on the shop’s Facebook page, Mrs Mooney’s Shop, that she intended to retire on Christmas Eve at the age of 86.
The news sparked an outpouring of sadness and nostalgia among former schoolchildren, their parents and even their grandparents, who had crowded out her shop at break times, as well as other businesses in the town, not to mention friends of Bridie and her late husband Robbie, a coal merchant.
“I am going to retire in my fine old age and take some time to myself. I have enjoyed all your company for so many years” she said in her retirement announcement which was marked in an article covering the greater part of a page in The Irish Times.
Despite protestations, Mrs Mooney was not for changing her mind: “A lot of hard thought has gone into my decision and it is with a heavy heart that this decision has been made. I want to thank all my loyal customers young, old, past, present for all your kind words and business throughout the years.”
She died in the Greystones Nursing Home on Wednesday surrounded by her family, having turned 91 in August.
As news broke of her passing, the Greystones Guide promoted the call from local hairdresser Susan Collins that all businesses down tools for 60 seconds, “given that Bridie spent 62 years of her life keeping us all in sweets, cigs and papers down on Trafalgar Road”.
Tributes were also made on the Facebook page, where her family posted a link to the funeral Mass, at which physical attendance was limited to close family due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The extended Mooney family also expressed their own sadness. “We are all just devastated to say farewell to our beloved Bridie who passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning. A huge part of the Greystones community and the matriarch of the Mooney family, her passing leaves us heartbroken but with so many joyful memories” their post read.
Local pharmacist Fiona Roche, who was one of the schoolchildren to pass through the shop, said the author Maeve Binchy “would have had a field day writing about her”.