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14 Aug 2022

Then & Now: End of an era as Limerick shop closes

Then & Now: End of an era as Limerick shop closes

Hanley’s Grocery Shop and filling station at Creeves Cross near Shanagolden has closed after nearly a century serving the people locally Picture: Pexels

HANLEY'S GROCERY Shop and Filling Station Creeves Cross closed for business on Friday, July 22, after nearly a century serving the people of the locality.
The owner Thomas Hanley is retiring from the business situated at the five crossroads branching towards Askeaton, Ardagh, Foynes, Rathkeale and Shanagolden. The shop began life in a thatched house owned by John Barry who was a teacher in nearby Nutgrove School which opened in 1869. Patrick Hanley and his wife Johanna Doherty who came from Rooskagh took over the shop in 1925 building up the business. Their son Tom continued to serve the people of the area until the present owner his son Thomas took over in 1981. He oversaw the construction of a newly extended premises, offering a wider choice of goods and better value. Thomas and assistant Ann worked long hours in the shop and filling station which also boosted Lottery, hardware, news agency and fuel supplies. People calling outside opening hours were always welcome and catered for in a satisfactory manner.
It was always a very busy five crossroads and a good location for a shop with the school attendance, up to its closure in 1968. The building of Alcan in the 1980s continued this trend and it was also a meeting place for both young and adults to converse. The sporting and traditional entertainment families created great life around there. Many famous people called to the shop for business reasons as salespeople and the local hunts held meetings there. It was used to advertise the activities and fundraisers for local clubs and organizations. Over its lifetime the shop has experienced the economic War, World War 2, The Emergency, rationing, numerous recessions, Brexit and Covid 19. It has witnessed the arrival of rural electrification, had the first telephone in the area(Shanagolden 10), and made the big switch from counter service to self service supermarket.
Since the news of the closure was known former and present customers have been calling in, to extend their best wishes and to avail of the 20% reduction in stock. Numerous tributes have been paid thanking the Hanley family for the great service they have given over a wide area, for close on a century. On display was a pictorial history of the shop and the people associated with it through the years.
Compiled by his niece it was attracting a lot of interest during my visit on closing day. The closure of any business is always filled with mixed emotions, and it impacts in so many different ways for all concerned.
The closure of the one-stop shop will be a major loss to its local customers who will now have to travel to the adjoining towns and villages to conduct their business.
As the door closes for the final time Thomas wants to thank the numerous loyal customers who have supported the shop down through the century. He also acknowledges with gratitude the contribution of everybody who worked at Creeves during that time. When asked would he do it all over again Thomas said he would and added that rural shops in similar locations had a good future. Happy retirement to Thomas and best wishes to the family in the next chapter of their life.

Is laughter the best medicine?
THERE IS an old saying that a good laugh and a long sleep were the two best cures in the doctor's book. It is a proverb that vividly illustrates the healing and restorative powers of laughter. There are very few of us that do not feel a good deal better in ourselves after a good laugh. It is a kind of self indulgence in a way, I suppose, and a very pleasant one at that. For when we laugh, we give ourselves the licence, the freedom to be happy in a moment, to put our troubles aside if only for a little while.
One of the great delights of childhood was laughing at the exploits of our favourite cartoon characters on television and the circus clowns. They were simple things then but they had a kind of magic about them. It was a magic that was essentially childlike and innocent too. When I reflect on the above, I recall some beautiful sounds we are lucky to have in this world. I like the sounds of flooding streams when the waters rush and tumble down a mountain stream. The water cascades over rocks, crags and stones collecting foam as it deposits itself into the river below. It seems as if the stream is singing its own age-old song.

The pitter- patter of raindrops on leaves on a soft spring day can have a magic all of its own. It is a coming together of the sky and the earth to create an old age melody. One of the most wonderful sounds must be that of children laughing when they are playing games. The way they laugh and the squeals of delight, as they hide and seek in the school playground would make you think there was nothing but good in the world. The following old sayings are worth pondering on:
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
If you want your dreams to come through, you mustn't oversleep.
Of all things you wear, your expression is the most important.
Your mind is like a parachute, it functions only when open.
One thing you can't recycle is wasted time.
One thing you can give and still keep is your word.
The heaviest thing you carry in life is a grudge.
The best vitamin for making friends is B1(to be one)


Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands, and if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it. Friends are like balloons, once you let them go, you might not get them back. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives and problems, that we may not even notice that we've let them fly away.
Many times, we are so caught up in who's right and who's wrong, that we forget what's right and wrong. Sometimes we just don't realise what real friendship means until it is too late. Even in the darkest of days a good laugh can brighten up life for a short time as it is the best medicine.

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