Ennis College Further Education
Home » Breaking News » Last post for Gerry after 51 years serving west Clare
Gerry O Malley, who has retired after 51 years from Kilrush Post Office, having been Postmaster. The counter service has now moved across the street to Queally's SuperValu while the sorting for the area will continue in the old building. Photograph by John Kelly

Last post for Gerry after 51 years serving west Clare

Champion Chatter Podcast

Last Friday week proved to be an emotional day for Gerry O’Malley, as he closed the door in Kilrush Post Office for the last time after 51 years’ service to An Post, including 15 years as a contractor.

Kilrush Post Office in Francis Street, which was built in 1957, is now closed to the public for counter services apart from undelivered mail as retail services have transferred to SuperValu in the town. This building will still be used by local postmen.

“A big crowd turned up to see me retire. We were told to close at 4pm because of the transition. We took photographs had a party in my house afterwards. It is a big change not having to get up for work in the morning,” he said.

In an interview with the Clare Champion, Gerry said the new buzzword in An Post is co-location as they want post offices to be located in existing business premises.

The 69-year-old father-of-two is delighted the staff he worked with have moved to the new location.

“I enjoyed serving the people. We knew everyone locally and everyone knew us. We met some lovely people over the years. We provided tourist information before there was a tourist office in the town.

“One duty was 5.30 am to 2.30pm, the other was 9am to 6.45pm. I was working with a great team – people like Francis Meaney and Noel Culligan who died at a young age.

On March 18, 1971, Gerry joined the post office as a clerk after completing an exam in Galway. Following three months training, he was sent to Kilrush Post Office in June to cover holidays and sick leave from his base in Ennis at the time.

For about 25 weeks of the year, Gerry filled in for absences in Kilrush until he was appointed a clerk in 1981, the same week his father, Patrick (61) died, having come from Limerick to the town as a marine during the Emergency.

There were four postmen, five clerks, one postmaster, and 71 telephonists who worked day and night in the telephone exchanges in Kilrush until the late seventies.

Born in Kilrush Hospital in November 1952, Gerry attended national and secondary school in the town. At the time, people hadn’t much choice of jobs, it was a case of becoming a teacher, guard or entering the Civil Service.

Now in a wheelchair after part of his left leg below the knee was amputated last February due to diabetes complications, Gerry is looking forward to get a prosthesis before the end of the year so he can return to playing golf in Kilrush Golf course, which he describes as the “friendliest club in Ireland”.

Elected as a Kilrush town councillor for Fianna Fáil from 1985 to 1998, Gerry grew up in a staunch FF household where his father used to pass on representatives to former President of Ireland and Clare FF Deputy, Paddy Hillery.

Gerry was also very involved in setting up and running St Senan’s Nursing Home as a director and chairman for about 35 years until his recent retirement after Kilrush District Hospital was closed in 1987.

He was also chairman of Kilrush Vandeleur Walled Gardens for about 22 years, and was also involved in Kilrush Credit Union and FAS. He lives with his wife, Joan, nee Talty, from Lisdeen near Kilkee in Shannon Heights. They will be married 48 years next September

Councillor Ian Lynch described Gerry’s retirement as a “sad day” and an end of an era.

“Throughout the years Kilrush Post Office has been the centre of activity in Kilrush town. Once the exchange for Post and Telegraph phone services and in later year the towns commercial post office.

“The staff at Kilrush Post Office have always been second to none, outstanding in serving the community of Kilrush and West Clare. To those who have and are still working in our postal service we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the care and service you have given.”

He wished Gerry the very best in his retirement and looked forward to seeing familiar faces in the new post office.

About Dan Danaher

Check Also

Posing at Batsford Arboretum

The London adventure begins…

Well, I was rudely awakened very early one Monday morning and after a flurry of …