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Danny Reilly was the last of old Navan Street family

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Danny Reilly was the last of old Navan Street family thumbnailDanny Reilly

AN era has ended with the death of city nonagenarian Danny Reilly, who was the last surviving member of an old Navan Street family, writes Joe McManus.

A bachelor, he was one of a family of nine born to Patrick and Nellie Reilly and had been been predeceased by his brothers Patsy, Mick, Johnny, Jemmy, Willie and sisters Masie, Sarah and Bridie.

Danny had enjoyed a long active life and independence up until a year ago when he became a resident of Greenpark Nursing Home.

Despite his advanced years his demise on June 17 was quite sudden and many people were shocked to hear about it.

Born into a large family and growing up in the 'Hungry Thirties" had Danny well prepared for the challenges of later life. He worked for a time in the Shetlands before returning home and taking up employment as a bin man with Armagh Council, a job which he enjoyed for several years before retiring.

In his younger life he was well known in local GAA circles excelling at hurling and football but his favourite sport in keeping with a proud family tradition had always been road bowls or 'The Bullets" as it was known in his early life.

Danny was passionate about the popular road game and was a regular attender at all the local venues. He was so familiar with every course. He knew every step of the way, every bend like the back of his hand and famous landmarks like ' Knappagh Angles" and "Starr's Pump' we re always on the tip of his tongue. He was also no stranger to major 'scores' down in Cork. His heroes over the years included household names such as 'The Hammerman' Donnelly, Joe Mc-Veigh, Danny McParland and his own brother Mick, known as 'Black Top, 'who, for many years was domiciled in Limerick.

Danny was very much his own man, the type who called a spade a spade and made no apology for speaking his mind. But there was another side to him as well. He was kind, helpful and supportive and would have gone out of his way to do anyone a good turn. He had an exceedingly close affinity with Armagh, an undying love for its people and was a Navan Street man to the backbone.

His home was an open door where callers were always made welcome in keeping with the ethos of the street where caring and sharing were right at the heart of its neighbourliness.

Danny was also a man of great faith and would have paid many daily visits to St Malachy's Church where his Requiem Mass was celebrated by Parish Administrator Fr Peter McAnenly on Tuesday, June 20, the attendance including many from the road bowling fraternity. The musical rendering of 'Danny Boy' was a touching moment.

Danny Reilly was an old Republican and his coffin was draped with the Tricolour as the cortege made its way through the city to his final resting place in St Patrick's Cemetery. The procession paused for a moment at Navan Street where the deceased had resided all of his long lifetime.

He is survived by his sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews to whom sympathy is extended.

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