Friends pay tribute to well-known city fruit trader
FRIENDS and colleagues of well-known trader Esther McAuliffe have paid tribute after her death last week at the age of 66.
Esther sold fruit and flowers from her stall at the corner of Marlborough Street and North Earl Street for decades.
A familiar face in the city, she set up every day, whatever the weather.
Her mother had traded before her and Esther's passing brought an end to a century of her family selling fruit at the same location.
A tribute stall was in place yesterday as the funeral cortege passed on its way from Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street to Shanganagh Cemetery.
Dubliners paused for a while to sign a book of condolences, with some expressing disbelief that she had died.
"It's very sad. She always did the wreaths for my mother's grave. Good God, she looked to me to be as jolly as anything. She was beautiful. The kindest person I ever met," one woman said.
Esther's nephew Michael Gannon told the Herald: "She was just a hard-working woman. Hail, rain or snow she went out to face all sorts of weather.
"That was her life. She networked with people, from the Department of Education to the people who own Boyers and Clerys. She had regulars over the years.
"She was a simple, humble lady. It was a labour of love. It was a struggle but she kept at it.
"Imagine getting up at 5.30am every morning."
Patrons of The Confessional Box pub on Marlborough Street helped set up the tribute stall, containing a photo of Esther with the words: "This angel left us on 15th July 2014."
Moore Street trader Phyllis Tynan, who knew Esther well, said: "She was a lovely, lovely person.
"She was very kind, very kind to everybody who bought off her. She had time for people who bought off her.
"She sold high-standard fruit. She only sold good stuff. Her mother sold there before her. Someone said the other night they remember going to school and buying off her mammy."