David and Kay hang up keys as Clon shop closes after 105 years

December 18th, 2017 9:16 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

David and Kay McCarthy at ‘MacCarthy's' in Clonakilty which was the last known sighting of Michael Collins when he called in to buy newspapers, just hours before his deaeth, in 1922. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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CLONAKILTY’S oldest newsagent is to close its doors for the last time on Christmas Eve after 105 years in business. 

J McCarthy Newsagent on Pearse Street has been run by three generations of the same family, with owners David and Kay McCarthy now deciding to retire. The shop has historical significance, too, as it the last known sighting of Michael Collins who called in there to buy some newspapers on August 22nd 1922, just hours before he was shot in Beal na Bláth. 

David’s grandfather Flor bought the shop for £450 in 1915 and David’s father John, whose name still adorns the premises, took it over some years later. 

David’s mother Kitty, who died in March this year, also worked in the shop until her retirement in 1990 when she was in her 70s.

‘We’ve had it up for sale for three years now and it was only this summer we decided that we would close the shop for good,’ David told The Southern Star.

‘We will miss it alright, but the hours are very long. I’m hoping that someone will come in and buy the premises and I would be open to leasing the premises if some interested party was interested,’ David added.

He said that they’ve had a lot of customers and neighbours wishing them well since they made the announcement.

‘I will miss it as I’ve met some wonderful people and there’s great comradery there. I must say it’s been a pleasure, even though I came into it by default as did my father John. I will also miss the interaction alright and I’m sure Kay and my daughter Ciara, who has also worked here, will too. We will have a small bit of a goodbye gathering the day before we close,’ added David. 

David also paid tribute to the numerous staff that worked alongside them down through the years, and he thanked his brothers and sisters who have also helped out in the busy shop at different times.

‘We’ve had some great staff and we were so lucky with every single one of them, I must say they complemented the business. I want to thank my daughter Ciara, too, as well as current staff Anne McCarthy and Sheila McDermott and also Mary Harrington, who was here for 29 years.’

David joked that this is his third retirement as the former All Ireland medallist retired from football at the age of 40, retired from teaching science in Clonakilty at 55, and now he is retiring as a newsagent, at 68.

The Southern Star would like to wish David and Kay all the best in their retirement, having sold this newspaper for decades.

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