Shops and Shopping in Killererin
Killererin Heritage Society from Killererin – A Parish History
While carrying out research for our parish history in 2015 we were surprised by the number and variety of shops dotted all over the parish from Ballina to Cloondahamper and Dangan to Togher since the 1840s.. What follows is a summary of our findings.
Today, all over the country, shopping is done on a daily basis with ease of access provided by the ready availability of transport. However, in the past, shopping was a weekly occurrence and people had to wait for the travelling shop which came to all the houses in the local area on a designated day. Goods were bought and sold in many cases by bartering, and farmers would mainly exchange eggs for their purchases.
In the 1930,s Patrick Mitchell from Barracks had a travelling shop which travelled the hi-ways and by-ways of Killererin. During the war years, Finnertys and Cheevers in Moylough also came with their horse drawn travelling shops. Others that followed were Hares from Tuam, Bobby Gilmore from Moylough, who once owned the premises now owned by Patrick and Anita Stone in the village. He had a horse-drawn travelling shop. Christy Mannion from Barnaderg is the travelling shop most people in the locality remember and he did so from the 1950s to 1970s. He also owned the local shop that still remains today in Barnaderg. Peter Burke from Garra and Molloys from Cornacarton also ran travelling shops as did Pat Gormally from Ballaghalode and T.P. Niland from Tuam.
£. s. d. Pounds, shillings and pence
“In 1957, the travelling shop was a regular sight throughout the countryside. Everything you needed was in that lorry – from a bag of flour, meal for the hens, nuts for the calves and even a spool of thread. No hassle going to the supermarket then! All the weekly groceries were bought outside the door. It was an exciting time for us then as we always got a loaf and jam and sweets were usually thrown in on that day. It was divided amongst a large family. We were self-sufficient then. We grew our own potatoes and vegetables and had our own milk. We killed a pig and made our own black puddings and of course, we had plenty of fresh eggs. The basket of eggs almost paid for all the other groceries and sometimes there was some change left over. We reared chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys for Christmas. We had all the seasonal fruits – rhubarb, apples, gooseberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. These made all the desserts and we had plenty of milk to make the custard and everybody baked their own soda bread”.
The following is a typical weekly shopping list:
|1lb loose tea||6s 4d|
|8lbs sugar||5s 0d|
|2oz tobacco||5s 1d|
|60 cigarettes||9s 3d|
|1lb Bextarter||2s 4d|
|1 lb Breadsoda||0s 4d|
|Rinso washing powder||1s 5d|
|Loaf of bread||1s 2d|
|Hair oil||1s 0d|
|½ lb margarine||0s 10½ d|
|Packet of custard||0s 10d|
|1 lb butter||4s 4d|
|½ cwt flour||£1 9s 0d|
|½ cwt bran||£0 13s 6d|
|Tea cake||£0 0s 6d|
|38 Duck eggs||£0 9s 6d|
Christy’s Travelling Shop
“He probably heard more confessions than any parish priest. The troubles and joys of every woman within a 30-mile radius were poured out to him and his advice was treasured more than that of any skilled counsellor. His weekly call was something to be looked forward to by all – the mother exchanged bits of gossip with him, the offspring tottered about with mouths open, watching for an apple or a bar of chocolate, while the man of the house would venture out when the deal was nearly done to find out about the price of wool or whether cattle would improve in the fall. Right well Christy relished the chat. Many’s the word of consolation he spoke which took a load off a mother’s heart, as she spoke about the son that had gone a bit to the bad; the daughter who hadn’t come home for months or the husband who had to go to the hospital for tests the next day. There was never any rush driving off, the day was long, people had their troubles to tell and he reckoned that words didn’t cost money. At time’s you’d hear the complaint – Christy is late today – but whatever about being late, there was no doubting that Christy would come. If he didn’t, a part would be missing from the week and that didn’t happen often in the year. Only 2 weeks of the year would the travelling shop not turn up, Race Week and the week after Christmas. Even then, he’d be missed for the half-pound of tay or the two stone of pollard for the hens or for the score of eggs which had been stored up for sale.
In the early years, eggs were the making of Christy and the households for that matter. There wasn’t a house in the country which hadn’t at least 30 hens and with eggs going a good price, many’s the week the eggs paid for the groceries and gave a bit of change as well. If truth be told, there were 1 or 2 dicey customers on Christy’s run whose eggs weren’t always what they should be, but that didn’t worry the man in the travelling shop. Such trivials weren’t worth rows, he reckoned. Many such things weren’t worth thinking about in Christy’s mind. There was many the week, when a woman wouldn’t have the price of the provisions and she might even want a few quid to pay the rates but there would never be a word of compliment or complaint as Christy provided the necessities. He reckoned that whenever they got the money, he’d get his and that was the way with many of them. Not alone was he a travelling shop, he was a travelling bank as well”.
Shopkeepers who operated in Killererin in the past
The following is a list of shopkeepers who are known to have operated outlets in Killererin in the past. More than likely there were others, which are unknown to us.
|Brannellys (Later Fahys)||Evelyn||Peak||Groceries|
|Burke||Billy||Kilmore||Petrol and Groceries|
|Coleman||Michael and Christina||Ballynakilla||Groceries and bicycle tyres and tubes.|
|Currans||Tom and Margaret||Dangan||Groceries|
|Donnellan||Martin and Rose||Omanmore (for a short time)||General store|
|Emery||George||Gurranecoyle||General store (Shebeen)|
|Fagan||Mrs. Mary||Barnaderg (opposite current post office)||Grocery, confectionery, cigarettes and tobacco|
|Fahy||James||Barnaderg (premises now known as The Red Gap)||Grocery, Hardware and Post Office|
|McHughGilmoreMannionKeaneStone||John and PatrickBobbyChristyMiko and BridiePatrick and Anita||Barnaderg (premises now known as The Red Gap)Barnaderg (premises now known as The Red Gap||Grocery, Drapery and Post OfficeAs aboveAs above but also ran a travelling shop from these premisesGroceries, hardware and plants.Groceries, hardware, Deli, in-store bakery,plants and dry-cleaning service|
|Keane||Annie, John and Frank||Barnaderg||Grocery and farm supplies|
|Kelly||Willie Joe and Kathleen||Togher||Groceries and confectionery|
|King||Joe and Kathleen||Clogherboy||General store|
|Long||Mike and Bridget||Cloondahamper||Groceries|
|Mannion||Nano||Dangan||Hardware, groceries, and toys for Christmas.|
|Mitchell||Patrick||Barracks||Egg merchant, groceries, and had 2 travelling shops|
|Molloy||Mick Joe||Cornacarton||General supplies|
|Mullins||Martin||Dangan||Groceries and hardware|
|Mulryan||Martin and Kathleen||Cottage, Barnaderg||Groceries|
The following notice appeared in the Tuam Herald on 6th February 1840 and may indicate that this was 1st shop to be set up in the village. It is written and spelled as it appeared in the newspaper.
County of Galway.
New Wholesale and Retail General
Spirits and Hardware,
The Proprietors beg respectfully to acquaint their friends and the public in general that on the 17th March (St. Patrick’s Day) they propose opening their New and well supplied Concerns, at BARNA DAREG. For the sale of the best description of Wines, Teas, Coffee, Sugar, Spices, Real Cogniac Brandy. Dublin Beer and Scotch Whiskey, from two to six years old; prime Rum, Gin, Rasberry Juice; Ginger Cordials; Currant [Sherb], Vinegar; Guinness’s XX Stout: Drogheda Ale. Wax Spelm and Cocoa Nut Candles; Starch, Blue Soap; Tobacco, Snuff and every article in the Hardware and Oil Department, likely to be required by persons residing in the country.
The Proprietors having purchased their present extensive supply of Stocks for CASH, can afford selling at a Very Small Profit and instead of wishing to indulge in the present system of puffing, [putting up prices] merely state that they will only sell the BEST DESCRIPTION OF GOODS. There will be no Second Price asked, or Credit; and their anxious desire will always be to please the Public, from whom they respectfully REQUEST A TRIAL.
They have, on yesterday, received a Large Supply of the best Wigan and Smith’s COAL, which will be sold upon Reasonable Terms.
They daily import 400 bottles of Soda and Seidlitz Water [a natural water] from the CELEBRATED MANUFATORY OF Mess’rs Towalls, O’Kelly, and Co.; also a large supply of Spices, Fruit, Pickles, Sauces, Confectionary, Perfumery.Patent Medicines; Dry Colours; Colours in Oil, Varnishes, Dye Stuffs, &c., &c., from Messe’rs (normally Messrs.) Polock, Figgis and Co, Dublin.
N.B.—Wanted a Shop Boy, who will understand his business. None need apply except those who can give the most satisfactory references as to character, &c.
M.G. KIRWAN & Co.,
Barna Dareg, 6th February 1840.
The above may be referring to the present day premises owned by the Joyner family (now a pub) as it had listed in the advertisement that wines and spirits and stout would be on sale. 6th Feb 1840. A liquor licence would be required to sell same.
Sean Fahy owned a Public House – the premises known locally as Brannelly’s. On this premises he also ran a small grocery shop. This is now closed.
Coleman’s shop, Ballynakilla
Michael and Christina Coleman ran a shop from their house in Ballynakilla from 1975-1982. It was open 7 days a week from 7.30 a.m. to 11 p.m. They sold bread, milk, ice-cream, minerals (red lemonade at 13 pence a bottle) and cigarettes. They also sold bicycle tyres and tubes.
The regulars would knock on the door at 7.30 a.m. particularly from Toghermore House for their cigarettes such as Woodbine, Sweet Afton, and Players etc. Chrissie Coleman used to regularly bake her own speciality, apple sponges, which were very popular.
Currans’ shop, Dangan
Originally located at the ‘crossroads’ in Danganbeg, Currans shop was first established by Nonie Mulry in the early 1940s. In 1946, the business transferred to a new premises just down the road where they ran a general store here for another 40 years.
George Emery, Gurranecoyle
George Emery, Gurranecoyle, hailed from Drumduff, Co. Fermanagh. His parents were Church of Ireland Protestants, who reared a family of 5, 3 sons, and 2 daughters. George became a Roman Catholic and loved horses. He was a horse breeder and he rode in the Irish Derby many years ago. He was a successful business man.
He ran a general store and ‘Shebeen’ in Gurranecoyle as did his wife’s parents’ before them. George ran the shop until the day he died in 1977.
Fagan’s Shop, Barnaderg
“For many years, a well known landmark in the village of Barnaderg was Fagan’s shop. The house now demolished was situated in the field opposite the current Post Office in Barnaderg. Fagan’s came to Barnaderg in the early 1900s and rented a small thatched house. Sometime later, Mary Fagan started a small grocery and confectionery shop to supplement the family income. The shop was located in the kitchen. She sold all the usual grocery items bread, tea, butter, sugar and fish. Confectionery items sold were chocolate, sweets, buns, cakes and fruit. She also had a licence to sell cigarettes and tobacco.
Customers were mostly local and there was some passing trade from people who were passing through the village. The shop served the day to day needs of the people of the village. Many of the goods were sourced locally. Bread and confectionery were acquired from the bakeries in Tuam – Lydons, Garveys, Hynes, Clorans and Mongans. Cigarettes and tobacco were also acquired from the bakeries – in those days, bakeries held licences to supply tobacco to other outlets (large shops with big orders got their supplies direct from the tobacco manufacturers).
Minerals were obtained from Egan’s Mineral Water Company in Tuam. Fruit such as oranges and bananas and grapes were obtained via the fruit importers in Tuam. Vans would call to the shop and you could get what you needed. Apples were obtained from a local orchard when in season. This meant getting the loan of Keane’s donkey and cart to get to Blake’s in Ballina to collect the supply of apples. A small amount of fish was sold. The ‘no meat on Friday’ rule was still in place and fish was also a cheaper food for meals and an alternative to meat. The fish was supplied by Miko Ralph of Tuam who travelled to the Dublin fish market to get his supplies. Herrings whiting, plaice and haddock were sold.
The sweets and biscuits sold would mean nothing to the children today. They were penny bars, Peggy’s Legs, Bulls Eyes, Clove Rock, Cleeves’ toffees, Liquorice pipes and Allsorts and Double Centre. The brands of chocolate would still be familiar today – Cadburys and Roundtree. Biscuits were from Gearys of Limerick and 2d packets of Jacobs were very popular. A selection of cakes and fruit buns and Chester cakes were also stocked.
Fagan’s was more than a small local shop. It was also a meeting place for young boys of the village at night. They gathered there to play cards, have a fag and buy sweets and minerals. Mrs. Fagan served sweets in cones made from newspapers and the old copies that the local school children would bring in to her. You could buy one cigarette if you hadn’t enough money for the packet of 5 at the time. This was added trade for the shop and bought in a small amount of income.
That was in pre-electricity days and the main source of light was from oil lamps. Mrs. Fagan would need the lamp for her work at the counter so the boys would have to club together to buy a candle to place on the card table. The main game games they played were ‘25’ and Pontoon. The shop served as a place for the youngsters to go as there was no other gathering place in the village.
The shop was run by Mary Fagan who hailed from Annaghdown. Her husband Patrick was from Westmeath. They met and married in Galway. He was a carpenter and she was a nanny to a doctor’s family in Galway.
Work at Farrell’s Mill brought them to the area and eventually to Barnaderg. Mary ran the shop for 40 years or more and she was well known throughout the district. Patrick died in 1937 but Mary continued to run the shop until she was elderly. She was 1 of the characters of the village and was known to be a kind, caring and generous woman. Mary died in 1962 and the little shop known as Fagan’s was no more”.
James Fahy owned a Public House – the premises now known as The Red Gap. On this premises he also had a grocery shop, hardware and a post office. (See Public Houses for more detail on this premises).
There is photograpic evidence of another thatched shop also in Barnaderg. The Keane family were farmers and built a new house on their land. Once built, they opened a shop in the original house which was thatched. As business expanded this house was no longer fit for purpose and they built an extension to the new house to accommodate the shop. It was a grocery shop with other goods such as farm supplies sold there. It was also a well-known visiting house where people gathered at night to play cards and chat.
Local people remember this as the home of Annie, John and Frank Keane.
Richard Keane, Cahergal,
This shop was owned by his father Martin Joe and before that, his aunt Mrs. Forde.
Annie Lane had a shop in Cottage, where the (May) Miskell family home is now situated, back in the late1930’s or 1940’s
Mike and Bridget Long had a shop in Cloondahamper beside the bridge. Bridget Long was Fleming from Hillsbrook and grandmother of Maureen Rooney, Tygreenane.
Mc Hugh’s shop, Barnaderg
John McHugh owned McHugh’s shop listed in Barnaderg South in the 1901 census. He employed a female general domestic servant and a male shopman (grocer). The shop is listed again in the 1911 census and still owned by John Mc Hugh and his wife Catherine. At this time they employed a female, listed as a drapery assistant. This would have been a one-storey thatched building, which also served as a post office.
John died suddenly at the age of 54 years in October 1911. It was reported that “Mr. McHugh was a businessman who built up for himself an enviable reputation, and the manner in which he perfected anything he took on hand was permeated to his own personality”.
Following his death, Catherine ran the post office with her daughter Delia. This was located in the shop now run by her son Patrick. Patrick married Barbara Burke, Knock Lodge and they lived there from the time of their marriage.
A robbery occurred in McHugh’s and the following account appeared in the Tuam Herald at the time.
Barnaderg Shop robbed
“On Monday night about 11 o’clock, 5 men knocked and got admitted to the shop of Mr. John McHugh, Barnaderg. Two of them had revolvers and were not disguised, whilst
the other 3 men were masked but had no revolvers. They said they were I.R.A. men and proceeded to take goods from the place. They took 249 lbs of bacon, 40 pairs of boots, 12 lbs of tobacco, and 5s in cash. The post office is attached to the shop premises, but the raiders did no damage there beyond upsetting papers and evidently searching for money which was not in the place”.
In later years this same shop stood the test of time having been closed for a while and then bought by Bobby Gilmore, Moylough. He sold groceries, some hardware and bag meal for poultry and animals.
Sometime later on Christy Mannion from Belclare and his wife Estelle (Morrissey), Barnaderg owned this very successful business for many years. Shortly after Christy’s sudden death, the Mannion family sold the shop to Miko and Bridie Keane, Barnaderg who refurbished the interior and continued to run a thriving grocery shop. At the present time, this is the shop now known as Centra Supermarket, owned by Patrick and Anita Stone who bought it on 3rd May, 1993.
Mannion’s shop originally started out as a thatched cottage built by Gerry’s grandfather, John Mannion (also known as “Black Jack” because of his very tanned skin). John originally came from Galway and the family think he may have been descended from the Spanish Armada. He met and married his wife Mary (nee Curly, Dangan) and went on to have 5 children, a boy named Gerald born c.1909 (father of the interviewee Gerry Mannion) and a daughter Nora known as Nano born in 1904,. They had 3 more daughters Emily and Katie, both teachers by profession who died in their early 20s from TB and a daughter Maisie, married and living in Newcastle, England. In 1909, the cottage where the family lived was transformed into a fine 2-storey house with the shop adjoining the side with a sloping roof.
Nano ran the shop for her brother Ger until he married Ellen (nee Forde) in the early 1930s. The shop was refurbished in 1936 but unfortunately burned down in 1971.
The bakery goods for the shop were supplied by Clorans, Shop St., Tuam, Cheevers of Moylough and O’Reilly’s bakery, Old Road, Tuam. The shop also supplied light hardware e.g. brushes, hay forks etc. to its customers and these were supplied by Gilmore’s of Moylough and Somer’s of Athenry. They also supplied toys for Christmas which included “golly wogs”, teddy bears on tricycles, little cars and Christmas stockings.
Caltex Oil Co., Galway supplied paraffin oil for the fodder lamps for the local farmers. Loose tea arrived by train to Ballyglunin station in a tea chest which was 3ft x 3ft lined with tinfoil directly from India. Ger Mannion travelled to Ballyglunin station with his horse and cart and collected the supplies from the train and sometimes delivered to other shops e.g. Daly’s, Derreen, on the return journey home.
The tea-chests were used as playpens for children and there was often a waiting list of 3 to 4 months in order to secure a tea-chest for various homes in the area. There was a half inch lathe around the chest which became a teething ring for the toddlers and when this was well chewed it was time for the child to leave the ‘play pen’.
Gilmore’s travelling shop also visited Mannion’s shop on a Thursday for batterin, (or bartering) where the customer’s would bring their eggs and buy groceries in exchange. If the customer did not have the money to pay for their groceries, they would “ticket and strap it” (put on account) until money became available when crops or cattle were sold.
The shop had an L shaped counter with the “Eggler” in ¼ for the eggs. The customer would ask for what they wanted and there was a weighing scale on the counter. Customers brought their own shopping bags or baskets. The cigarettes were kept over the fireplace to protect them from dampness. John Player, Sweet Afton, Gold Flake and Woodbine were the cigarette brands and plug tobacco and Clark’s tobacco were also supplied for the pipe smokers in the area.
There was a loft on top of the store where supplies were kept and they would be taken down for display when needed. The shop usually opened at 9.30 and closed at about 6p.m. but the shop would be opened at any time outside of these hours if requested.
Ration books were introduced in 1945 and Nano did her best to “keep the wolf from the door” and look after everyone as best she could. She kept extra supplies for the families with a lot of children as they were often the hungriest.
Nano was a very kind and religious lady and she often gave what she could to the Poor Clare Nuns in Galway city who on occasion, would visit her in Dangan.
Patrick Mitchell Snr (Grocer)
Patrick Mitchell’s shop was located in the village of Barracks, in the townland of Gurrancoyle near Barnaderg. In the 1930s, Mitchell’s Grocery Shop was a hub of activity in the village, parish and some 20 miles radius. Mitchell’s served this entire radius with 2 “travelling shops”. They provided this service 5 days a week. In a time when emigration was the norm, Mitchell’s employed 4 to 5 men on the lorries and farm. Horse drawn wagons (Wild West Style) set out each day loaded with groceries and provisions and returned each evening loaded with crates of eggs for shipment to the UK. A lot of the trade was on a barter system – eggs for groceries etc.
Farming was very depressed in those times with a slow market to Britain of livestock, agricultural produce and wool. Our young people went to the United Kingdom and the USA to seek employment, many never to return. World War II arrived bringing shortages and rationing. All were issued “Ration Books” for essentials like tea, sugar and butter and the term “Black Market” became common. Mitchell’s Grocery thrived and claimed to have over 3000 ration book customers – the largest in the West. They now had progressed to petrol lorries, and then petrol rationing. The lorries converted to fitted gas generators which were fuelled by fired carbon – a dirty system. But there was no scarcity of tea or butter at Pat Mitchell’s. He announced that his customers would get their just ration in full and Black Market tea would be unlimited at £1 per lb. We were shown stores and bedrooms full of chests of tea, for his customers.
He always invited his neighbours to hear the football matches on All Ireland Sundays (his was the first wireless in the parish). It was not unusual for Mr Mitchell to enquire weeks before All-Ireland finals if any of his customers wished to go see the game. He would put a truck (which he’d have fitted out with bench seats) at the disposal of his neighbours. I remember my father and others going to Cavan and such venues to see games. Gaelic Football was and still is very popular in Galway.
On Fair days in Tuam, he always, under some pretext or other, had a truck in town. The driver was under instructions to round up the neighbours, and take them home when business was done. He himself rarely visited Tuam and didn’t believe or trust banks. I remember him showing us a large iron safe set into the wall which he said contained some £20,000. Patrick died in 1944.
Yes, Pat Mitchell was a wealthy, successful business man and a real gentleman too. He had a large family of some 19 in number; I name just a few I recall:
Tom (succeeded Pat Snr), in the shop; Susan, Mary Ellen, Paynie, Kevin, Mona, Celia, Joe, Birdie, Maudie and Frank. His grandson, Pat Mitchell continues the retail tradition operating a shoe shop in Tuam with his wife Rosaleen and family.
Martin Mullins’ shop in Dangan was opened in 1935 and was extended over the years as the business grew. It was a general store with normal grocery but also sold hardware, (saws, brushes etc), footwear, animal feed, paraffin oil and newspapers. It was a family run business and never needed other staff. All the family worked in it as they grew up. It was open 7 days a week and was a meeting point in the area. Whether it was a winter night or a summer afternoon it was a place locals could gather. Inside the shop there was a bench where people could sit, chat and gossip! They could also sell their own eggs and butter to the shop. It closed in 1967 after 30 years in business and the locals definitely missed it.
Now, the only remaining shop is Stone’s Centra, in Barnaderg run by Patrick and Anita Stone. Patrick is a brother to Bridie Keane one of the previous owners. This shop has a long history as outlined above. They have modernised and expanded
 Tuam Herald, 6th February 1840 (August 2012)
 Local knowledge and Out and About 2012, P. 97
 Interview with John Cunnane August, 2012.
 Local knowledge, Heritage Society members.
 Out and About 2000, article by Nora William, Clogherboy.
 Ploughman, Tuam Herald, December, 1984
 Local information
 Information from Michael and Christina Coleman, Ballynakilla
 Information from Helen Curran, Fortyacres
 Information from George’s daughter Lily King, nee Emery, Tuam
 Out and About Magazine 2004, written by their granddaughter Bernie Flaherty, Castleview.
 Local knowledge.
 Information from John Tighe, Prospect 2015
 Information, Dom and Mary Dunleavy, Barbersfort House
 Information from Mary Dolan, Lissavalley, Barnaderg. (November 2012)
 Information from Mary Dolan, Lissavalley, Barnaderg. (June 2012)
 The National Archives of Ireland, ‘Census of Ireland 1901/1911’, (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search) (Aug 2012)
 Connacht Tribune November 4th, 1911. P 3
 Information from Mary Dolan, Lissavalley, Barnaderg, 2012
 Tuam Herald, (Date unknown)
 Information from local community and Patrick and Anita Stone.(Aug 2012)
 Interview with Gerry Mannion, Thursday 9th January, 2014
 Article written by Willie Mannion, Galway Rd., Tuam and formerly of Gurrane.
 Information from Pádraig and Mary Mullins, Dangan.