Keep up with Armagh i

Lurgan mourns passing of business great Jarlath McConville

His store, PJ McConville's, was highly regarded in the town, being one of Northern Ireland's oldest shoe shops

Jarlath McConville

Lurgan is mourning the passing of a prominent local businessman who passed away on Monday.

Jarlath McConville, an institution in the town, died peacefully in at his home on December 11.

Jarlath never married, but poured his heart and soul into everything he was involved in. He was a keen football player and Irish dancer. His store, PJ McConville’s, was highly regarded in the town, being the island of Ireland’s oldest shoe shops.

His remains were removed yesterday (December 13) from his late home to St Peter’s Church in Lurgan, with Requiem Mass taking place this afternoon (Thursday) at 1.30pm.

Jarlath’s remains were interred afterwards in St Colman’s Cemetery.

Not only was he known on the local business scene, but he was heavily involved in many charity and community endeavours, such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the former Lurgan Operatic Society, both of which were mentioned in his eulogy.

The parish priest told mourners: “After leaving school at 14 years of age, Jarlath entered Lurgan technical college to study a business course. All along, as a young boy growing up, he helped out in his grandfather’s shop at the top of North Street. Of course, Jarlath was very proud of the fact that this shop is the longest standing independent family owned shoe shops in Ireland.

He added: “Perhaps many people will fondly remember Jarlath for his countless performances in the Lurgan Operatic Society’s operas in the town hall, beginning way back in 1951, for many decades.”

Friend of Jarlath, and Lurgan charity worker Deirdre McCann told Armagh I she has fond memories of Jarlath during her time with the Operatic Society, describing him as “an amazing singer in his day”.

She said: “There’s no doubt about it, we wouldn’t have had a society if not for Jarlath… He was a one-off. That’s the only way you could describe him.

“He helped people throughout the community, he was a real churchgoer, he helped St. Vincent de Paul a lot and we had some brilliant laughs.”

Deirdre says Jarlath “was the Operatic Society”, putting a huge amount of work into keeping it going whilst he was alive.

“The other members and I don’t know where on earth he got the time. We performed every year in the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera and it was a big thing for us. Jarlath organised for every one of us the hotel, the meals, the train, the buses, he just took that all in his stride.

“And he was working full-time. None of us ever appreciated the amount of work that did go into it.”

She added that Jarlath was a huge aide for her when she took over as Secretary of the Society.

“It really was my life. Then being chosen as Secretary, I didn’t realise until then how much Jarlath had put in. He took, in his own quiet way, a lot of stress off me. He didn’t want any praise. He didn’t want any thanks…”

A death notice described Jarlath as the dearly beloved son of the late Lauretia McConville, and loving nephew of the late Joseph, Angela, Ita and Brendan, and loving cousin of Finola and Ursula.

The family have requested no flowers and donations in lieu should be made out to the St Vincent de Paul Society Lurgan c/o Jack McLearnon & Son Funeral Directors.

Obituary: The death has occurred of Jarlath McConville (Lurgan)

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Lurgan