Deputy Michael Lowry gets help from Julia Hayes to pull a pint during President Obama's visit to Moneygall
The village of Moneygall was in mourning this week with the sad news of the passing of legendary local publican Julia Hayes over the weekend.
Ms Hayes ran her small bar on the main street since 1987, and at the age of 80 in 2011, was delighted when then US President Barack Obama visited her village and his ancestral home.
She described the former US President as “a very handsome man”.
President Obama's cousin and local man Henry Healy told the Tipperary Star that the village was in shock following her unexpected passing.
“She will be a big loss to the community and her family,” he said. “No matter who came to Moneygall they were brought to Julia's.”
Julia spent 70 years behind the bar, having started at the tender age of 16 in her native Lorrha.
While she never got to meet President Obama, she did feature in the television docuemtary The Road to Moneygall and consequently everybody wanted to meet her.
A photograph of her holding a US flag in her home in Moneygall hangs in the Barack Obama Plaza visitor centre, and Mr Healy, who runs the facility said it was a big conversation point among patrons.
Mr Healy said Julia ran an old-style bar with no television and just Guinness and Smithwicks on tap.
“Everybody took part in the one conversation and if there was a singsong you were expected to join in,” said Henry.
He said that Julia was “always in the thick of things”, and there was a warm welcome for everyone.
And no matter who came into the bar, they never had to pay for a cup of tea, he said.
Julia never opened her bar on Sundays even though she had a seven-day licence. It was a six-day licence when she took it over and she always took Sunday off to be with her family and husband Joe.
Tributes have been flooding in for Julia Hayes, and the Moneygall community Facebook page posted these poignant words, "Last Call in Moneygall as we wake today to the sad news of the passing of Julia Hayes."
In the many kind words shared about her, Julia was described as a "lovely lady," kind and welcoming.
One comment read, "She was a true lady, great craic and a dab hand at the ‘auld cards. She will be sadly missed."
Another recalled fond days of "cups of tea in the back kitchen.” Another reminisced: "Julia was always so kind, from my childhood days in Shinrone to the times I visited Moneygall over the years."
Julia is deeply regretted by her loving husband, Joe; his son Kevin; granddaughters Carol and Emer; son-in-law Tim; sisters and brothers, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.
She reposed at Donovan's funeral home, Moneygall on Tuesday, February 12, with removal to St Joseph's Church. Her funeral Mass was due to take place this Wednesday at 12pm, with burial afterwards in Lorrha cemetery.