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Funeral of renowned hotelier to take place on Friday

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MOURNED The late Ann Geary, who also served on the board of Bord Fáilte and was a tireless champion of Irish tourism.

Westport native Ann Geary ran Pontoon Bridge Hotel for over five decades


Michael Duffy

The funeral arrangements have been announced after the death of renowned Mayo hotelier and Westport native Ann Geary. Aged 81, Ann died peacefully on Tuesday night at University Hospital Galway after a bravely fought illness.
Ann’s funeral cortege will leave her residence at Pontoon House on Friday at 2.30pm and travel to the Church of Christ the King, Knockmore, for funeral Mass at 3pm followed by burial in Kilconduff Cemetery, Swinford. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the house is private.
Ann was a native of Castlebar Street, Westport. Her parents ran PJ Kelly Builders and Hardware shop in Westport. Her father, PJ, was a Commandant in the West Mayo Flying Column and was one of the ‘Men of the West’.  Ann came to live in Pontoon in 1964 when she and her husband Brendan married and then purchased the Pontoon Bridge Hotel on the shores of Lough Conn and Lough Cullen.
For almost five decades, Ann successfully ran and managed the Pontoon Bridge Hotel together with her family, turning the hotel from a small lakeside fishing hotel into a 58-bedroom wedding venue and leisure destination. She retired from the hotel business in 2011.
Over the years, she pioneered local tourism in Mayo and the west of Ireland, and the promotion of angling. Ann was Chairperson of Ireland West Tourism in the 1980s. She was appointed to the board of Bord Fáilte by the Government in 1988 and served a five year term. At the time, very few women were serving on Irish State Boards.
She subsequently served as a board member of the North Western Regional Fisheries Board. She was very active in tourism organisations such as Skal (the International Tourism Fellowship) and became its National President in the 1990s. She also served on the first board of the Western Development Commission.
Ann had the distinction of founding the Irish Ladies Fly Fishing Team and was its manager for the first four years of its inception – taking the Irish team to compete in England, Scotland and Wales. She also founded the organisation the Chefs of Mayo – who have done a great deal of charitable work over the years.
Ann was predeceased by her late husband Brendan who died in 2012. She is survived by her daughters, Mary (Pontoon), Ann Gavin (Swinford), Breeta Gallagher (Killala), and sons, Michael (Dublin), Brendan (New Jersey) and John (Westport); sons-in-law; daughters-in-law; her eleven grandchildren, Sophie, Christopher, Adrian, Henry, Lucia, Cathal, Colleen, Ava, Joanne, Joseph and William; her brothers, PJ, Fr Vincent, Simon, Harry and Eamonn and her sisters, Maura, Eileen, Breeta and Kay.
Funeral Mass for Ann can be viewed on www.churchtv.ie/knockmore. A memorial Mass for the Ann’s soul will be held at a later date which will be arranged in due course.
May she rest in peace.