BY HELEN RIDDELL
MURPHY’S SuperValu in Castletownbere, which has done business from the same premises for 187 years, has celebrated the opening of its new-look store.
One of the oldest retail outlets in the country, the shop celebrated its major renovations with a ribbon cutting performed by Marie Kerrisk, aged 104, who ran the shop in the 1930s, and was assisted by her great-grandniece, Emma Downey.
The shop was first opened in Castletownbere by Daniel Murphy in 1830, and has undergone many improvements over the years.
In 1977, Dermot Murphy increased the retail space to 9,000 sq ft and joined the SuperValu group, becoming one of the first SuperValu stores in Ireland.
Dermot’s daughter Lorraine Downey and her husband Chris took over the store in 2010, making Lorraine the sixth generation of the family to run the business.
Major refurbishment work started on the shop in November 2017, increasing the floor space to 15,000 sq ft, and incorporating an artisan bakery; a hot food delicatessen, and craft butcher counter and a new 30-seat café to the front of the store.
As well as serving the population of Beara, the shop also supplies much of the local and foreign fishing fleets landing in the adjacent Castletownbere fishery harbour.
Also on hand to mark the opening was celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, television and radio presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin, and rugby star David Wallace.
A large crowd of customers, family and friends gathered in the shop for the relaunch celebrations.
Castletownbere parish priest Fr Noel Spring blessed the premises, and Dermot Murphy outlined his family’s history in running the shop, before handing over the original old shop key to his daughter Lorraine and son-in-law Chris.
The couple, who were joined by their three daughters, Amy (7), Katie (5) and Emma (4) said they wanted to show their commitment to the community in undertaking these improvements.
Chris outlined the challenges in undertaking the refurbishments, while still keeping the shop open, and thanked all customers and staff for their support and patience.
He also thanked the construction company and all contractors who carried out the work.
Murphy’s SuperValu is one of the largest employers in the Beara area, and is involved in a number of local community initiatives, including supporting the Castletownbere Tidy Towns Group, sponsoring the Castletownbere Development Association, and providing support to local GAA clubs throughout Beara.
They also sponsor a number of other sporting events in the area, including the Allihies Summer Run, the Bere Island Midsummer Run and the Eyeries 5 Mile Run.
In carrying out the work on the store, Chris and Lorraine explained that they were able to avail of grants from the SEAI for the benefit of local community groups, which supported the Eyeries playground, St Peter’s Community Centre and the Bere Island Community Centre.
Following the opening ceremony, chef Kevin Dundon, assisted by Hector, gave a cookery demonstration. The celebrations continued over the weekend with food tastings from local suppliers, and a family fun day.