ON A recent trip to New York, Tulla native Seán Fitzgerald recalled a piece of Tulla’s social history that was in danger of vanishing into the mists to time.
The retired school principal from Knockjames, who now lives in Edenderry, County Offaly, was on a visit to his aunt, Eileen McNamara (née Dooley) when she recited a poem composed by the owners of ‘The New Shop’ in the middle of the last century. Now SuperValu, the New Shop operated on Main Street from the 1940s to the ‘60s.
“Like some local shops of that era, it served as a pub too and you do could then do your grocery shopping after having a few pints,” Seán said.
The proprietors of the shop, who were forward thinking and modernised their shop to the point of having a cold room installed for meat storage.
“By way of advertising the latest technology, the owners composed, displayed and promoted a little ditty,” Seán explained.
“The verse had disappeared into obscurity for decades until recently recalled from memory by 91 years old Eileen.”
“When the sun boils down on Tulla town
In the summer tropic heat
And flies are found buzzing round and round
On all kinds of meat,
There is one great boon in our new cold room
With its’ grand iced walls inside,
You need not fret as the meats you get
Is always fresh at Floyd’s”
Eileen was born in Knockjames Tulla in 1931. She immigrated to to New York in the late 1950s and married Anthony McNamara from Magherabawn, Feakle. They raised a family of five in Queens New York. Her husband Anthony passed away in 2001. Eileen has revisited her native Tulla many times over the years, most recently for the wedding of her grand nephew 3 years ago.
Seán said that Eileen sent him the piece in her own beautiful handwriting and describe it as “a little gem from Tulla’s past”.
“Like many Clare people in New York she retains a very keen interest in all things local with particular reference to the Clare Champion,” Seán added.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.