The little shops of Bohermore

There were a few little shops at the top of Prospect Hill leading up to Bohermore — Kelly’s shop was where you got the thickest penny ice cream between two wafers. There was McInerey’s, Mary Kate Mahon’s and Lohan’s chemist. Almost next door was Tom Duffy, the tailor. On the other corner of Biddy’s Lane was Molloy’s little shop — neat as a pin.

Across the road from Water Lane was a small shop which later became Sharkey’s. I vaguely remember a fish and chip shop and even a small laundrette along that row. Mr Cloonan, the carpenter, had a coffin shop along there also. He was a very friendly man. If his door was open when we were passing, being children, we were afraid to look inside in case there might be a fully occupied coffin looking out at us.

Crowe’s Bar, Paddy Hogan’s Pub were close to each other and Luke Doherty’s Pub was directly across the street. The three proprietors would stand at their doors after last Mass on Sundays, hoping to attract customers to their house. They were known locally as ‘the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost’ – I never knew which of them was which.

Between O’Dowd’s house and O’Leary’s shop and post office, there was a tiny house with a half door known locally as the shoemaker’s shop. Leather belts, shoes and boots were all the go in those days. I think his name was Bob Griffin. With laughing eyes, a bushy beard, eyebrows and wire trimmed glasses, he looked like a character from a Charles Dickens novel as he leaned over the half door on a summer’s evening with people going by. I often wondered if he ever passed that door because I never saw him step beyond it.

Next to the cobblers was O’Leary’s shop which also housed the post office. It was a fairly long premises, usually quite busy especially on Fridays which was a pension day for the seniors. There was a great rush for postage stamps in the week before Christmas. Although there was the one and only telephone box across from the shop, O’Leary’s, like all post offices had a telephone. I was a student home on holidays once, and Mrs O’Leary sent a child all the way down Bohermore to Lydon Terrace to tell me I would be receiving an important phone call at one o’clock. I ran all the way up Bohermore and received the phone call right on time. Oh, how times and phones have changed.

About 10 steps from O’Leary’s was Conneely's neat little shop, and a little further up the road was a little pub called Martyn’s where Tonery’s is now.


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