Mr Barnie Cowan

MR Bernard Joseph Cowan, of Station Road, Castlewellan, who died recently in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, was a retired publican and a popular and respected member of the Castlewellan community. He was 72.

Barnie, as he was known, was educated at St Malachy’s Primary School and St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan. The eldest of a family of 12, he had a very busy youth helping out on the small family farm on the Bann Road, Castlewellan.

He became an apprentice barman in Hugh McCann’s pub in Castlewellan and later worked at McMahon’s Bar in Belfast from 1964-69 and the Donard Hotel in Newcastle from 1969-74 before buying a pub in Upper Square in Castlewellan in 1976. He retired to his current address in 2008.

He was a good Christian and a regular church attender, but as a private man he kept his religion and beliefs to himself.

Barnie was a keen sports fan and loved gaelic football, boxing, golf, snooker, soccer and rugby. He was a member of Annsborough Homing Pigeon Society and specialised in long distance racing. At the time of his death he was breeding Kenyan pigeons with 30 racing pigeons and six stock birds in his loft.

He played darts in the Castlewellan and East Down Leagues, was a keen fishermen and and was also interested in shooting and hunting. He kept sheep and developed a love for sheep dog trialling, becoming a judge at local sheep dog trials.

Barnie always had a dog, the breed varying from labrador, greyhound, spaniel, Doberman, Kerry Blue and lurcher. His final canine friend was a whippet named Ruby.

Barnie had been in failing health for four years, but he faced his future with dignity, which was typical of him. He never complained and was full of praise for the care and professionalism for those who attended to him at Dundrum and Clough Surgery, Downe Hospital and the Ulster Hospital.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, brothers Johnny, Paddy, Jimmy and Terry, and sisters Kathleen, Gerardine, Sheena, Philomena and Roisin.

He was predeceased by a brother, Mickey, and a sister, Mary.

Requiem mass in St Malachy’s Church, Castlewellan, on May 10 was followed by interment in Leitrim.

Mrs Cowan would like to thank Martin O’Higgins, of the Fresh Food Centre in Castlewellan, for his generosity during the wake.