Shane Lowry and Seamus Coleman among the thousands to send man with autism birthday cards after public appeal

An outpouring of public generosity led to the delivery by An Post of thousands of cards to Barry Connolly from all over the country and as far away as the UK, Dubai and Australia.

Shane Lowry and Seamus Coleman among the thousands to send man with autism birthday cards after public appeal

A young man with autism was overwhelmed to receive over 4,000 birthday cards after his mum made a public appeal to help him celebrate turning 30.

An outpouring of public generosity led to the delivery by An Post of thousands of cards to Barry Connolly from all over the country and as far away as the UK, Dubai and Australia.

Even celebrities said 'Happy Birthday' to Barry with signed cards from the cast of Fair City and rally driver, Rosemary Smith as well as a signed Everton jersey from footballer Seamus Coleman and a signed photo of Shane Lowry from his mam and dad.

Barry's mother Sharon from Co Meath made the appeal on social media as she feared her son, who adores opening cards, would only receive a few cards for his milestone birthday.

However she was '"totally shocked" when a trickle of cards turned into a flood over a few days leading into his birthday on Thursday.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "There are so, so many good people out there who took the time and money to get a card and post it to Barry and for that, myself, my husband Seamus, Barry and Barry's sister Leanne will be forever grateful.

Barry and his mother Sharon
Barry and his mother Sharon

"I put the appeal up on Monday and was thrilled to get 36 cards on Tuesday. I arrived home on Wednesday and found a note from An Post asking me to collect a registered letter.

I thought that someone had taken time to send a registered letter was lovely but when I arrived at the Post Office, I was told there were 835 cards and 15 brown envelopes, each stuffed with dozens of cards from schools all over the country.

"I was stunned. I thought I was going to collect one.

"Then on Thursday, Barry's birthday, nearly another 2,000 cards were delivered along with flowers and loads of bars of chocolate. One couple even drove over from Drogheda with a card.

"There are cards from Fair City and rally driver Rosemary Smith as well as a signed jersey from Seamus Coleman and even a photo of Shane Lowry from his parents.

"I had to hide them all in the kitchen until Thursday evening to show Barry, who was just overwhelmed.

Barry and his mother Sharon
Barry and his mother Sharon

A further 1,000 cards were delivered today.

"The reaction from people has just been amazing. It has made Barry's birthday and my week. I'll never be able to repay their kindness but from the bottom of all of our hearts, we'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent a card.

"I'd better also thank Linda McGourty the postwoman who delivered them all!"

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