Mrs. Nicola T. Finnegan


It was with great sadness that the communities of Castlewellan and Newcastle learned of the death of Mrs Nicola Finnegan (née Hall), on Wednesday, January 16, at the age of 49.

Nicola was the adoring wife of Bartley and the devoted mother of Ellen, whose home is in Lower Square, Castlewellan, and it was here that Nicola died peacefully with her immediate family by her side.

Nicola had an unequal battle with cancer, spanning over three years. Her death came as a surprise to many, as she was still working up until November last year. Despite her many sufferings and trials throughout her illness, she never changed, but chose instead to help others.

Nicola enjoyed life, never taking it for granted, and with her larger than life personality, her presence never went unnoticed.

Nicola was the third daughter of Richard (Dick) and Patricia Hall (O’Flinn), and was born in the old Dunwellan Park, which is now the site of the main roundabout entering Newcastle.

Nicola was educated at St. Mary’s Girls Primary School, Newcastle, and the Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch.

It was while at school in Ballynahinch that Nicola met the great love of her life, Bartley. He was smitten by Nicola’s beauty, whilst Nicola was bowled over by Bartley’s tall, dark, handsome good looks. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nicola went on to the University of Ulster, Jordanstown, and in 1986 secured a position with the construction company, Hugh J O’Boyle Ltd. Under the directorship of John Carson, the company set up a youth training programme and subsequently established a new company, Hugh J O’Boyle Training Ltd.

Nicola led the company, but always with the full support and backing of the directors and her team. Many of those same staff employed over Nicola’s 30-year career were present at her funeral to honour her memory.

It would be impossible to list Nicola’s many achievements throughout her career. Nicola’s reputation went before her and because of the professionalism with which she carried out her work many of those she engaged with, including her students, became friends. Many paid their respects at Nicola’s funeral Mass on Friday, January 18.

It was whilst working with Hugh J O’Boyle Training Ltd. that Nicola married Bartley in 1992. Their family was complete when daughter Ellen, was born in February 1997. She was the core of Nicola’s existence, and enriched the lives of her and Bartley immeasurably.

Canon Bernard Magee officiated at Nicola’s funeral mass in St. Malachy’s Church and spoke of her deep faith and how she faced her illness with great bravery, gaining strength from her faith, family and friends.

The large attendance on such a bitterly cold day was testament to the esteem with which Nicola was held by her family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. Nicola loved snow and the snow on the ground at her funeral was a fitting farewell, ensuring a send-off to be remembered. Ellen’s classmates from Assumption Grammar School provided a guard of honour. Following the funeral mass, interment was at the family plot in Aughlisnafin cemetery.

Nicola was predeceased by her father Richard, mother Patricia, step-mother Rose, brother Francis and mother-in-law Rita. She leaves behind her husband Bartley and daughter Ellen, along with sisters Pauline, Patricia and Michelle, brothers Richard and Andy, uncle Sarsfield, father-in-law Paddy, sisters-in-law Una, Sherri, Monica and Joanne, brothers-in-law Damien, Lars, Eamon and Francie, and her many nieces and nephews.

Niki’s kindness, good nature, and her laugh are hard to forget. It was a more than privilege to have known her.