Chapter 23


In the 1900s, there was another Chemist Shop in the Town. This one was in the Market Square and owned by Samuel Smiley. In addition to selling all the usual goods connected with this kind of business, he would test eyesight for glasses and would also relieve a person of an aching tooth at any time of day or night, including Sunday.

To have a tooth out by Samuel in those days was an experience never to be forgotten. The patient sat on a chair in Sammy's shop. He would go into the back and then reappear with his wife to hold the aching head, and to give Sam some moral support because everybody seemed to be trembling with fear. Then, in a quiet voice like an executioner, he would keep on saying, "Be a good little soldier; be a good little soldier", while holding the nasty looking blunt needle and the huge pliers in his hand. But when the poor man held up his one or four pronged trophy, and showed a large box of uglier teeth than the new one for his collection, it was very hard to tell who was the more relieved. The cost of all this was two shillings.

Samuel Smiley closed in the 1940s, and the property was purchased by Robert Armstrong, the Draper. In 1948, Jim Bell, from Derryneil, rented the shop for a short time, to sell second-hand car parts, before moving up the Street. The place was then turned into a Hairdressers and run by Mrs Arthur Rooney from the Town and, later, again a Hairdresser's, run by Rosemary McGrady, from Burrengrove. In 1962, when it became vacant, it was bought by Sammy Brown, from Backaderry, whose wife, Yvonne, is also a Ladies Hairdresser. She carries on her business in one half of the divided shop and the other half, a Barber's, is rented to John Doherty, from Bryansford. The trade name above the shop is" Yvonne's". Above the side door, leading to the living quarters, is a sign stating that there is also a 5Op shop, in one of the upstair rooms.

Back in the early 1920s, when the old paraffin engines were being installed by the farmers, to drive corn bruisers, lights and other farm machinery, an Engineer from Kilkeel saw an opening in Castlewellan, for someone to service and repair this equipment; so he moved into a large house on Mary Street behind and belonging to Samuel Smiley. Later, ln 1933, he bought the old mill at the Clarkhill corner on Mill Hill, and worked there till he retired in 1948. Harry Wright was an expert at his job and it was a real treat to watch him working his large lathe. The old mill is now a private house, having been completely modernised in the 1970s, by his son, Tommy.

The workshop behind Smiley's was used in the 1950s, by Charlie McVeigh, who originated in Mill Hill and had served his time in 'Soad' O'Hare's, to the cabinet making and furniture repairing trade. He carried out a similar business here, but died in 1970, at the age of 54 years.

Smiley's Chemist

The Shop on the left was Smiley 's Chemist and is little changed today.
The one on the right belonged to the famous George Magorrian and has been modernized.
 


Sammy Brown whose main interest is Horse Breeding. He is shown here showing a mare and foal at Castlewellan Show, 1986. Sammy is no stranger to the Pony and Gig Demonstrations and never misses any run for charity.

Of all the shops to enter, George Magorrian's must have been one of the rarest. George ("Tart"), a local man, had a Boot and Shoe Shop in Market Square, beside Smiley's. He opened about 1900, employing a couple of men to help with the shoe repairs. To get to George's workshop in the basement, it was necessary to place the hands on the stair rails and take a flying leap over alot of sheets of leather lying flat on the steps. To acustomerlookingfora new pair of boots or shoes, George produced the right foot one,from the box. If the customer didn't like it, he slung it into a heap of new footware in the corner. If the person did like it but offered Tart less than the price asked, he was immediately slung out onto the street, accompanied by inaudible abuse from a mouth which was constantly full of shoe nails. When George died about 1956, there was a sale of his goods and everyone there was searching for right footed boots, as there were nothing on the shelves but boxes of lefts.

George's property was then bought by Hugh King, the Draper, and divided, providing for two shops - one on either side of the front entrance. In 1957, the left side became the Post Office, under Tommy Todd, and the right, a Confectionery, run by Gerry Mullen, the local Electrician. The Post Office remained there until 1983, but had a change of Post Master in 1959. The new man was Tom Nelson, a stranger to the Town, who served there until he died in 1983. Gerry Mullen was a tenant for only one year and moved out to make room for Lily Farquhar, who lasted a little longer, till 1975 to be exact, with her fruit and vegetable shop, before deciding to retire. This was the place Joe Steele moved to from the Lower Square, and quickly built up a trade which demanded expansion.

Joe Steel, Proprietor of the supermarket, with Betty Mullen
Joe Steel, Proprietor of the supermarket, with Betty Mullen

 

Willie McCawley and Nicholas Pell.

Willie McCawley, centre. The young fellow on the left is Nicholas Pell a nephew of Paddy Steel.
He had jsut finished his time to the butchering and has emigrated to Australia in January, 1987
only to find he could not be divorced from Castlewellan and is on his way home again.

 

A bunch of North Riders collecting their trophies from the Dundalk Club.

A bunch of North Riders collecting their trophies from the Dundalk Club at their end of seasons, Motor Cycle, Grass Track Racing, Dinner party. Three locals, No. 1 Tom Herron, No. 2 Anthony Steele, No. 3 James Herron. About 1960.

The moving of the Post Office across the street was a Godsend for Joe, who immediately occupied the whole premises in 1983. His business in the grocery, fruit and vegetable trade is such that he could do with even more space. For a village store, this is a Supermarket with a capital S.

To our friends who travel far
Their fortunes there to seek
We won't forget them year by year
Fond memories we will keep
Although they may be out of sight
Our hearts are with them still
We often wish they'd stay around
But then, it is their will.


What more can a body do today?
So to them, God speed and health
And if they yearn home to return
With little or with wealth
They'll always find an open door
And those who don't forget
The faces that have passed their way
And the people they have met.

P. Mullen

 

The Dreamer

I dreamt I had a billion pounds and bought a billion smiles
And placed each one upon the lips of the people of these isles.
Then I gazed into their eyes and a sparkie I did see
One that long since disappeared, but back now, there to be.

But this is just a dream you see that fades by morning light
Then haunts my soul throughout the day and far into the night.
If only dreams would all come true and tears were golden streams
Then I could go to sleep content to dream about my dreams.

I dreamt I wrote a billion songs that spread a million miles
To reach the ears of emigrants who'd travelled far and wide.
And as they faltered in their stride at the sounds of my refrain
A thought was stirred within their minds to come back here again.

But this is just a dream you see that fades by morning light
Then haunts my soul throughout the day and far into the night.
If only dreams would all come true and tears were golden streams
Then I could go to sleep content to dream about my dreams.

I dreamt I lived a billion years and walked across the seas
And rounded up all Irish folk who'd left here by degrees.
Though some had went without consent or just an urge to roam
I gathered all within my arms and carried each one home.


But this is just a dream you see that fades by morning light
Then haunts my soul throughout the day and far into the night.
If only dreams would all come true and tears were golden streams
Then I could go to rest content, at last, free from my dreams.

P. Mullen, January 1990

A twelve inch square framed copy of this poem hand printed in Old English Style hangs alongside the works of Wordsworth in a small museum in Grassmere in the Lake District in England where that poet once lived.