Northern Ireland

Remembering Eddie O’Hare: Chemist, bridge player, artist and friend of people of Derry

Respected pharmacist was also a volunteer with Red Cross, aiding many injured during the Troubles

Eddie O'Hare was a respected pharmacist in Derry city
Eddie O'Hare was a respected pharmacist in Derry city

When Eddie O’Hare qualified as a pharmacist, he was the youngest person in Northern Ireland to do so and had to wait until his 21st birthday to begin practising.

He would go on to serve the community of Derry for decades, both professionally as a trusted chemist but also vocationally by enlisting in the Red Cross, coming to the aid of many injured people during the Troubles.

The city of Derry will be a poorer place without him.

The middle of three brothers – Eugene, Edward, and Jack – Eddie grew up in the shadow of St Eugene’s Cathedral where he was a member of the boys’ choir and won the position to sing solo at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

He and Eugene would first open O’Hare’s pharmacy below the family home in Creggan Street. Later they would also have branches in Creggan and Eglinton before moving to Great James Street in Derry.

In his youth Eddie was a goalkeeper for Sean Dolan’s GAC and was called up for Derry’s minors on a few occasions. He was also a keen supporter of Derry City FC all his life.

Eddie played goalkeeper for Sean Dolan's GAC
Eddie played goalkeeper for Sean Dolan's GAC in the 1950s

He met his future wife, Sally Coyle, while playing tennis at the Claris and Alpha club in Brandywell. They married in 1955 and as well as keen sports fans, they were people of strong faith, attending St Eugene’s throughout their lives.

They raised a family of seven – Marianne, Fiona, Paul (who died tragically in 1976), Andrea, Keith, Mark, and Gareth. They were also blessed with 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Eddie and Sally’s other passions included bridge. He was a member of the City of Derry and North West clubs, served as president of the NI Bridge Union, and played in numerous competitions and congresses with success, including the Irish Bridge Congress on the continent.

Eddie and Sally O'Hare
Eddie and Sally O'Hare

Seamus Donaghy, Master Points secretary to the City of Derry club, said: “I have results sheets going back nearly 40 years and Eddie and Sally figure prominently in many of them. They won more than their fair share of cups and were always jovial and popular opponents. Eddie was, by far, the oldest surviving member of the club.”

After retirement, Eddie took up art in his mid-60s with Sally. Both were active members of Foyle U3A and were tutored by the late John McDaid, a well-known local artist.

He served the community of Derry for decades, both professionally as a chemist and vocationally by enlisting in the Red Cross, where he aided many injured people during the Troubles

Eddie had undoubted talent, working initially in oils and latterly in acrylics. The walls of the family home and those of friends and family are adorned with their paintings.

Eddie O’Hare died peacefully on March 14 at his home at Oakfield Road in Derry. He was 93.

An astute businessman, whose professional expertise was second to none, he will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and neighbours.

His month’s mind Mass will be celebrated at 6.15pm on Saturday April 13 at St Eugene’s Cathedral.

** The Irish News publishes a selection of readers’ obituaries each Saturday. Families or friends are invited to send in accounts of anyone they feel has made a contribution to their community or simply led an interesting or notable life. Call Aeneas Bonner on 028 9040 8360 or email