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Post-haste...Mary Kelly with a letter she received in the post this week, addressed to the former owner of her Mary Kelly Newsagent premises Phillip Reidy of 28 O Connell street, Ennis, which was originally posted on 7th April 1971 and took 45 years to arrive. When opened, it was found to contain various used postage stamps, possibly sent for the missions. Photograph by John Kelly.

Snail mail take 45 years to reach Ennis

ENNIS businesswoman Mary Kelly, who operates a stationery and card shop on O’Connell Street, was rather surprised last week when a letter posted in Dublin 45 years ago dropped through her letterbox.

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The letter was addressed to the late Philip Reidy, the former owner of the premises. Along with his wife, Agnes Henchy Reidy, he ran a newsagency business from the building. Mr Reidy passed away in 1977.

“The envelope was perfectly intact and the address was written in a nice fountain pen. The postal mark was April 7, 1971,” Mary told The Clare Champion.

“I didn’t open it because there is a son of that man living in Celbridge. He said to me ‘open it’ but I said ‘no, no you have to open it’. It felt like it could have been a relic or a ten shilling note,” Mary mused.

Celbridge-based Philip Ó Ríada, who is currently abroad, insisted however that Mary open the letter sent to his father when Jack Lynch was Taoiseach and Richard Nixon was the US President. Mary opened the letter to find it contained Irish, Canadian, South African and European stamps, which she believes were either due to be added to a stamp collection or an aid to raise funds for the missions.

“Philip said he will work out who they were meant for and who they were coming from. He would only have been about 14 or 15 at that time. He thought I was joking when I contacted him because the day that I got it was his son’s birthday. He thought it was something for Eoin but I told him it was addressed to his father. I took a photograph and sent it to him on viber,” she explained.

Mary’s postman has been speculating as to why it took so long for the letter, which was posted in Dublin, to reach Ennis.

“It’s just incredible. One of my postmen said to me that old offices would have had sorting offices with timber shelves, where letters would have been fired in. He said that very often a small envelope could slip down and it’s only when those offices are being stripped or demolished that the letter would be found,” she revealed.

The Clare Champion contacted the An Post press office on the off chance that they could offer some insight into the 45-year delay. However, at the time of going to print, they had yet to respond and indications were that it could take some time.

Peter O’Connell

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