‘CASTLE STREET JUST WON’T BE THE SAME’
Brendan and Bridget Sweeney behind the counter on their last day of trade after 30 years’ service in Sweeney’s Shop on Castle St. The family describe the occasion of the retirement as a ‘bittersweet’ one, thanking all their customers for their support over the years. ‘Castle St just won’t be the same’ is a sentiment widely shared among the customer base this week.
IT is the end of an era for Sweeney’s Shop in Castle Street as it closed its doors for the last time on Tuesday evening.
Brendan Sweeney and his wife Bridget have put a lifetime’s work into the family business, and while it’s never an easy decision to close, it’s one that Brendan feels the time is right for.
Brendan worked incalculable hours in the shop over the years and decided it was finally time to retire and take life a little easier. But the story of Sweeney’s Shop is very much a family one as all five of the couple’s children - Siobhan, Christina, James, Paul and Helena - have worked there. Siobhan and Christina even worked right-up until its closure on Tuesday evening. It’s with a heavy heart the family says goodbye to its customers said Siobhan, who was just nineyears-old when her father opened the shop. “It’s an incredibly sad week for us as we’ve run the store for over 30 years,” she said.
“I think dad just wanted to take a step back and relax a bit. He has worked incredibly hard and he was in the shop seven-days a week. That’s the main reason its closing.”
Beaufort native Brendan opened his first shop on Castle Street in 1989 in what was then called ‘Healy’s Dairy’. In 2000 he moved further up the street to the current premises. The shop was an important part of daily life in Castle Street and it will be sorely missed by people in the Moyderwell and Boherbee area. Siobhan said it’s a bittersweet time, but that all things must come to an end.
“We’ve grown up with dad in the shop and we’ve all worked here. It’s hugely bittersweet for us. It’s been such a part of our lives and we’ve been so lucky to have it. The amount of people that have been in over the past few days telling us ‘Castle Street won’t be the same without us’ has been lovely. In a way, it was probably the only convenience shop in the centre of town.
“So many older people in the area depended on it. We have so many regulars that have come to the shop since we were children, they’ve became our friends over the years.”
Siobhan also thanked the many staff who worked in the shop over the years, especially Nora Hartnett, there from the beginning.
“Nora was fantastic and she helped my dad to keep the shop running. She will be hugely missed as well. We’re going to have one last Christmas party for all the staff,” said Siobhan.
ABOVE: Outside the family store on a bittersweet occasion as Sweeney’s ceased trading on Tuesday after 30 years were Brendan and Bridget Sweeney with daughters Siobhán, Christina and Helena.LEFT: Bridget and Brendan behind the counter at the popular Tralee shop on Castle St.