Family's post office closes after 70 years

March 19th, 2019 10:10 PM

By Brian Moore

Family post office, Durrus

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Durrus is the latest West Cork village to lose its dedicated post office.

Durrus is the latest West Cork village to lose its dedicated post office.

It was the end of an era in Durrus when postmistress Mary Ross locked up the building that had been in her family for the last 70 years.

‘It is sad and I didn’t take the decision lightly, but it’s good to know that Durrus will still have a postal service as a new local post office will be situated at Ryan’s village shop,’ Mary told The Southern Star. 

Mary’s father, Gibbs Ross, took over the running of the village post office for the first time on April 5th 1945.

‘We all grew up with the post office,’ Mary said, as she remembered how her brothers and sisters would have a job manning the telephone exchange for the local area. ‘It was a 24-hour job because if a call came in the middle of the night my father would have to get up to first connect and then disconnect the line when the call was done.’

Then there was the important job of delivering telegrams, a task which sometimes fell to the children to carry out. ‘I remember delivering telegrams was difficult because they seldom contained good news,’ Mary said.

‘I took over running the post office in 1985 when my father died. Then my sister got behind the counter when I left for a while in 1996, until 2001.’ However, Mary said that over the years business at the village post office had begun to dwindle.

‘Everything is online these days and more and more people have their pensions and payments sent directly to their banks,’ she noted.

‘This time last year I had no notion of leaving, but with the new contract from An Post I felt I had no choice. It wasn’t an easy decision. I thought about my father and the family, but I felt it was time to go. I want to wish the new operators all the best for the future. I want to thank our customers and friends for all their support down through the years too.’

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