BY Rose Barrett
Not even the Covid restrictions impeded Balbriggan pensioner Barney Greene from hosting his annual tractor run in aid of St Francis Hospice.
The 89-year-old Lusk man wasn’t fazed when the pandemic prevented him hosting his 14th event – he simply went virtual.
Barney called on grandson Adam to insert a donation link on his Facebook page, and then he set about making calls and connections.
“It was Daddy who went looking again for sponsorship,” said Barney’s daughter Maria. “He made all the calls himself and this year’s fund is now at €6,200.”
To date, he has raised €109,316 in aid of St Francis Hospice. The event, normally held on the first Sunday in January, traditionally involved an auction in the Man O’War pub next door followed by a great live music session.
“The least number of tractor and vehicles we had was 89 and the max was 136,” said Barney. “There were some vintage cars but mainly tractors.”
Maria added: “Daddy is still driving his car and tractor. He is out every day or at least, every second day, cutting people’s lawns or hedging – he can’t bear to be idle!”
Sadly, Barney’s wife Agatha died on December 4 last, aged 78. The couple raised three daughters and two sons. Barney now has four grandsons whom he adores.
“He was heartbroken, as were we all,” said Maria. “Daddy celebrated his 89th birthday on March 26 but he has never taken meds and has never been in hospital. He is always out working, either in the yard or tidying other people’s gardens or hedges. Being so fit and active keeps him going.”
Barney worked for years in Technicon in Swords before he worked at Fingal County Council offices in Balbriggan.
“He loves playing Irish music, plays the button accordion, sticks and spoons,” added Maria. “He used to play at sessions, but hasn’t been down the country in ages, and he is just itching to get back down to Willie Daly, a friend and famous matchmaker in Co Clare!”
But for Barney, sticking to a routine, being busy and eating wisely is the key to good health.
“I have a set routine, and I’ve being doing the same for the past 30 years,” said Barney. “I’m not a big eater; I’ve been eight stone for years, and never went up or down a pound.
“I hate needles though, and I got the second vaccine jab recently. Sure, I don’t know what I was worrying about, I hardly felt it!”
Barney thinks his good health is down to the family genes, his father lived to be 84 and his mother was 96 years old when she passed.
But he says, he can’t wait till it’s safe to travel and “get down to Ennistymon in Co Clare for some right good trad sessions.”
“I read the Dublin Gazette every week, you know!” concluded Barney.