Crescent is latest Athlone “institution” to close its doors

Another town landmark will close its doors for the final time on August 18 when the Crescent ceases trading as a convenience store.

The present incumbent, Eamonn Barrett, is to call it a day after 22 years of 13-and-a-half hour days and seven day weeks attending to the locality.

Tenure is to revert to landlords McGorisks, but no plans as to what its future use might be have been made known as of yet.

“I’ll miss it. There was an awful lot of craic, people coming in and having the chat. That’ll be the hard thing,” he said.

A convenience store has stood on this site since at least 1929 and previous owners have included Colm Heavey and Harry O’Brien. The Crescent even had a period as a dance hall under the management of Syd Shine in the 1950s and 60s.

“I have a photograph of the shop from 1929 when this was out in the country and there was nothing out here but fields,” said Mr Barrett.

He confirmed August 18 as the final day, saying: “The doors’ll be closed this day (August 5 ) fortnight...It’ll be gone as a shop forever, well, this type of a shop anyway”.

He scotched rumours that the neighbouring chemist was going to extend into the premises as “Not true”.

“I don’t know what he [the landlord] wants to do, but it’s not McGorisks [chemist] moving in.”

The Advertiser commented on the strains of the long hours - from 7.30am to 9pm - seven days a week, but Mr Barrett said: “No. It flies”.

Previously with Russell Brennan Keane when they had their premises on Garden Vale, the Ballina native has been in Athlone since 1978.

“Oh, I’ve tipped the scales here,” he laughed when it was suggested he was practically an Athlonian at this stage.

Eamonn has “no real plans” for his retirement and will “take it as it comes”.

He acknowledged how much of a landmark his premises was known as, and called it an “institution”.

“It’s well known to everyone. For giving directions to people, it’s a great place to use as a starting point, especially if they’re in their 50s,” he said.

The Crescent now joins an august list of Athlone landmarks such as Brodericks bakery, the Hoey hotel, the Apparel, St Mels Terrace and Park that have faded into the history of the town.

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