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Sunday 11 December 2016

Author Sebastian Barry's touching tribute to 'pride of Parnell Street' Patty

The remains of Patty Duffy are brought to Parnell St before burial in Glasnevin Cemetery
The remains of Patty Duffy are brought to Parnell St before burial in Glasnevin Cemetery
Sebastian Barry

Writer Sebastian Barry has paid a touching tribute to 'the Pride of Parnell Street, Patty Duffy', as she was laid to rest following 40 years behind the counter of Dublin's oldest newsagents.

Barry met her 20 years ago and was so struck by her he wrote her into his play based on the street.

She was the third generation of her family to have worked in Lucky Duffy's newsagents, which has traded on the busy city thoroughfare for 111 years. Her funeral took place in St Mary's Pro Cathedral yesterday.

"Twenty years ago we were bringing up our twins on North Great George's street and our local shop was Lucky Duffy's. Patty was the most wonderful, thoughtful, kindly, gentle person," Mr Barry told the Herald.

READ MORE: Tributes as 'the nicest woman on Parnell Street' Patty Duffy passes away

"She was not only a great 'character' in the Joycean mould, a true citizen of Dublin, but a wise and perfect friend. When it so happened I tried to pay tribute to her in a play, many years later, I was both delighted and worried when I heard she was to attend a performance," he added.

"The play was called The Pride of Parnell Street, and she was the pride of Parnell Street.

"She was absolutely astonished to be mentioned, as I had not dared tell her beforehand. I never saw a person so pleasantly overcome... Dublin is only great in so far as there are people like her in it," Mr Barry said.

Among the mourners were RTE's Larry Gogan, who was married to Patty's late sister, Florrie.

"Patty worked so hard to give her whole life to the inner city of Dublin," Cannon Damian O'Reilly said.

"As well as being a shrewd businesswoman, she had a kindness and generosity, and she never lost that."

Patty is survived by her sisters Marie (Bunny) Cooney, and Nuala O'Neill. After mass her remains were brought past her old shop before being taken to Glasnevin Cemetery.

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