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Optometrist Louise Brogan who is retiring from her Optician practice after 40 years. Photograph by John Kelly

Ennis optician eyes up happy retirement

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AFTER 40 years working as an optician in the heart of Ennis, Louise Brogan is retiring.

December 31 marked her last day of opening the premises just off O’Connell Street, but she is still doing a little bit of work before concluding.

“We closed on the 31st, the last day of last year. Now we’re here for last minute things, people might need to collect prescriptions or whatever, so we’re here by arrangement for the next week or two,” she said on Tuesday.

While the business was there since the 1930s, Louise arrived some 40 years ago.

“Bernie Maurer and Dr Eileen Kennedy Maurer were here and I came to work for them and when they retired I kept going. It was a lovely business from the point of view of meeting people.

“You might only meet them only once a year or once every two years, but you’d develop a friendship with them over the years. That was a lovely part of it. You’re dealing with eye care as well and I’d have been very interested in the health of the eye.”

Eye care is greatly improved since the early part of her career.

“There have been a lot of advancements in technology and it’s just phenomenal what one can do now and what one can see.

“We’d always try and encourage people to get regular eye tests, so if some issue was developing, that we might be able to prevent that.”

The public are far more likely to come for a test nowadays, she says, with people’s health being a much greater priority.

“People are more conscious of self care and they know that it’s not scary, it’s better to get the eye test done. Maybe you’d catch something in time and more often than not you’d be told they’re in good health.”

She really enjoyed working independently, rather than part of a wider chain.

“Working as a sole trader, not as part of a chain, was nice as well. In a practice like this you’d like to feel that the patient coming in was supported with after service and that kind of thing. I loved that time factor that I had, from my point of view it was important to give people time.”

Louise talks very warmly about the work, but one thing that was particularly hard was when people’s sight was failing and there was little that could be done to help.

“Some people’s sight couldn’t be helped and that was hard. If sight is going from someone and it can’t be helped, that’s not what you want for people.”

During her years in the business it had to overcome severe recessions and the last couple of years saw the introduction of Covid restrictions, but she says they became second nature very quickly.

She loved working in the heart of Ennis over the years. “O’Connell Street was a really nice street to be on. Cooke’s Lane is developing so nicely, it’s a lovely part of town and it’s getting nicer all the time really.”

When work finishes she plans to take a little break before making plans for the future, and she feels she will miss the interaction that was such a big part of her work.

“You’d miss your colleagues and the customers coming in, you’d miss that, while looking forward to the free time as well.”

Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.