The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By STEPHEN FERNANE

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.

Pho­tos by Joe Han­ley

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.

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