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Tributes for popular Co Down pub owner Henry Kavanagh who pulled pints for 70 years


Henry Kavanagh behind the bar at Fearon’s

Henry Kavanagh behind the bar at Fearon’s

Henry Kavanagh behind the bar at Fearon’s

Tributes have been paid to a popular Co Down bar owner who had been pulling pints of Guinness in his pub for 70 years.

Henry Kavanagh (94) passed away peacefully on Sunday, having poured his last pint in Fearon's on March 15 this year.

Born in east Belfast, he joined the Merchant Navy during the Second World War as a communications officer. After the war a chance visit to a dance in Warrenpoint changed his life when he met Bronagh Fearon.

The couple married in 1950 and they took over Fearon's, which belonged to Bronagh's father and had been in the family since 1820.

After his wife passed away 25 years ago he kept working in Fearon's, known to regulars as Henry's, until Covid-19 forced pubs to close.

A funeral notice said the great-grandfather had been a devoted husband and loving father of David, Mary and the late Paul.

His funeral will take place today in St Mary's Star of the Sea Church, Rostrevor, with burial afterwards in Kilbroney Cemetery.

Covid-19 restrictions mean no wake was held and the funeral is restricted to immediate family members. A box has been placed outside the family home/pub for those wishing to leave Mass cards.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so outside as the hearse makes its way to the chapel and on to the cemetery. People can only gather with members of the same household.

Family friend Damian Goodman (36) worked in Fearon's as a student and shared a love of sailing on Carlingford Lough with Henry.

"I kept taking him out on the boats up until the summer of 2018. He was always very active with walking and swimming," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"His grandson Sean and I had driven him down quite recently to look at a boat.

"At 93 he asked if he could climb onto it. I told him we were only supposed to be looking at it, but he was still trying to get the foot up and it was hilarious.

"He was great guy, I must say, and an absolute gentlemen."

Fearon's is known as a bar for a chat, only open in the evenings and with no Wi-Fi, TV or music.

Local cafe manager Peter McGrath Jr (26) wrote a poem in tribute to Mr Kavanagh.

"In the war he was a Morse code operator and still had the Morse code machine in the bar.

"He would show people how to order a pint of Guinness in Morse code. He was a character and a gentleman."

Belfast Telegraph